2021 Year in Review 1/2

January 6, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Attention Readers!

For our first edition of the Orangeville Citi­zen in 2022, we will be taking you through all of the highs and lows over the first six months of 2021. The first half of our 2021 Year in Review will share some of the most significant stories impacting our readers from Jan. 7 to June 24.

Next week we will publish the second half of our Year in Review with all of the highlights from July 1 to Dec. 23.

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

January 7

  • Last year started in a similar way to this year, with a province-wide lockdown that came into effect on Dec. 26 shutting down all non-essential services/businesses. In light of the lockdown, the Town of Orangeville laid off 46 staff members
  • The Orangeville Legion, also dealing with the lockdown and impacts of COVID-19, received a boost in funding to help it get through the winter months. The funding totalled $10,845 and was distributed through the Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund.
  • Another story that kicked off the year, continuing to date, was the delivery of vaccines for COVID-19 to the local health unit. Jan. 7 marked the beginning of the regional vaccination program for Dufferin County. The vaccines were given to staff members and residents of long-term care and retirement homes. Other high risk healthcare providers received a jab at the time as well.
  • Meanwhile, ski hill operators were taking a large hit at the start of last year, with all of the hills closed as of Dec. 26. The mandated closure came as a surprise to the industry as resort operators were expecting to continue with physical distancing protocols in place on all the hills. At the time, it was reported that the ski hill operators will lose around 25 per cent of their revenues in a normal year.

However, snowmobiling picked up in popularity as ski hills remained closed.

January 14

  • Ontario declares a second provincial emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and issues a stay-at-home order, requiring everyone to remain in their household, except for essential purposes, effective Jan. 14.

The lockdown was seen as a way to prevent further admissions to ICUs across the province.

At that time, daily case counts were around 3,000 a day and ICU occupancy was a little over 400 beds, with a capacity of 1,000.

As of today (Jan. 6, 2022), there are a little over 250 people in ICU in Ontario.

  • Last year’s Jan. 14 lockdown coincided with the arrival of vaccines for employees of the Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC), which were distributed in Brampton. At the time of reporting, 1,000 healthcare workers in the region had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Dental workers, including a local dentist, lobbied the provincial government to be included in the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our situation [as dentists] is a little bit more difficult because when we see patients, we can’t physically distance ourselves. We are working in the mouth and that where the virus actually replicates,” said Orangeville dentist, Raj Khanuja, who disagreed with the Province’s decision to exclude dental workers from the early rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations.

He added that aerosol generating procedures, which could include a cavity filling or crown, also puts dentists, their staff, and patients at an added risk of contracting COVID-19.

  • Meanwhile, Headwaters Communities in Action received over $75,000 in grant funding for agricultural programs, centering around outdoor education, virtual education, food box delivery, and researching new ways to fundraise in a pandemic environment.
  • Fiddlehead Care Farm landed a $64,600 grant through the provincial government’s Resilient Communities Fund, which is intended to help local non-profits support the community during COVID-19.

January 21

  • A former Orangeville Police Services officer, Stephen Fisher, was on trial at the start of 2021 for disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer.

He was found not guilty of the two charges alleged against him, which related to the disclosure of a video conversation between two OPS officers, following the final day of his trial on Jan. 15.

Fisher was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in December of 2018, after an investigation was made into the release of a video, which contained a conversation between manager officers, Const. Andy May and Staff. Sgt. Dave McLagan, reportedly discussing and harassing other employees.

  • Meanwhile, during the same week, Dufferin OPP made note that they are not randomly stopping vehicles to check stay-at-home order compliance. Some Orangeville residents expressed concern about the police’s new powers under Ontario’s lockdown.

Coun. Todd Taylor, Chair of Orangeville Police Services Board cleared the air by noting that he was told by the OPP that they will not do random stops to check compliance.

The OPP said officers would be enforcing the order by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five.

  • When looking at what was happening at Orangeville Council, the group unanimously approved a request from the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association (DCCBA) at a meeting on Jan. 11, to fly a pan-African flag for Black History Month in February. Council voted to partner with DCCBA and list the organization as a resource on their website as well.
  • Council also heard from representatives of local minor hockey associations requesting ice time costs be cut in half so their programs could continue when the province-wide lockdown ends.

The representatives explained that their revenues have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and its restrictions, and would need the discount to be able to offer hockey in Orangeville when things reopen.

Councillors voted to get a report from town staff to review the feasibility of the discount and have all the relevant background information on the issue so they could make an informed decision at their next meeting on Jan. 25.

  • With respect to the region’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the community saw the program paused due to production issues at Pfizer’s facility in Belgium. This led to the rescheduling of appointments.
  • And when looking at some of the positive news from the week of Jan. 21 last year, Kim Iten of Orangeville won $250,000 through an INSTANT TURBO scratch ticket.

January 28

  • Orangeville Council passed a bylaw amendment with a 6-1 vote on Monday (Jan. 25), reducing its default speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h on most town roads.

The speed limit reduction went into effect March 1.

The only streets excluded from the reduction in speed are Hansen, First Street, Townline, C Line, Riddell, Centennial, B Line, and Broadway

In addition to reducing speed limits throughout Orangeville, Council voted to make Rolling Hills Drive, McCannell Avenue and Blind Line, community safety zones.

  • During Council’s Jan. 25 meeting, they also voted 7-0 to have guardrails constructed at the curve of McCannell Avenue in Rolling Hills.
  • As well, Council voted 4-3 to proceed with plans for a transit transfer terminal at the Edelbrock Centre, instead of the formerly agreed upon location, which was on Broadway.
  • Online learning was extended indefinitely on Jan. 22 for the region, with the earliest projected return to school being Feb. 11.
  • An outbreak at Bethsaida Retirement Community, which was declared on Dec. 27, claiming four lives, infecting 21 residents, and eight staff, came to an end on Jan. 22.
  • New commander of Dufferin OPP, Insp. Terry Ward was welcomed to the role on Jan. 11.

February 4

  • Orangeville Council approved its 2021 Consolidated Budget, totalling about $70 million on Feb. 2, featuring a 0.97 per cent increase on the municipal portion of property taxes. The budget increases were inflationary in nature, according to the Town’s treasurer, Nadini Syed.
  • Council also approved a report on Feb. 2, outlining a little over 2,000 residential dwelling units on the books for Orangeville.

One of the most significant developments approved last year is at 515 Broadway, featuring a six storey, 161-unit retirement home, along with 18 two-storey townhouse dwellings. A 40-unit townhouse development was also approved for 62A-68 First Street. Another approved project is at 670-690 Broadway and will consist of a 33-unit townhouse development

  • Meanwhile, provincial COVID-19 restrictions shutting down pet groomers led to backlash in the local community.

The owner of Posh Puppy Salon in Orangeville spoke to the Citizen about the negative impacts on animals who are left ungroomed.

  • In other news, the Dufferin-Caledon community answered the call for donations from Headwaters Health Care Foundation (HHCF) to help bring updated equipment to Orangeville’s local hospital. The community raised more than $200,000, which was matched by the Morningview Foundation to make a combined donation of $400,000.
  • The restaurant Greystones opened for takeout on Feb. 2.

February 11

  • Alzheimer Society Dufferin County kicked off the Quest fundraiser, which ran for the entire month. The fundraiser challenged participants to engage in a series of fun online challenges, best suited for families who are trying to keep busy at home, while supporting a great cause.
  • Wedding planners shared with the Citizen the challenges they faced, working around the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions changed the format of many people’s weddings for the region, making them smaller in size, but wedding planners adapted to the changes.
  • A local Facebook group inspired activity online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, titled “1,000 Hours Outside Dufferin and Peel”. The group encourages residents to gather their families and spend quality time outdoors, instead of watching screens inside.
  • March Break was postponed for students and teachers across the province.Students and teachers in the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB), along with others across the province expecting a break next month had to wait a little longer as the government postponed March Break to April.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement last Thursday (Feb. 11) that the weeklong break for students and teachers, which was originally scheduled for March 15 to 19, would begin on April 12.

UGDSB teachers and student returned to the classroom on Feb. 8, after switching to remote-only learning following the winter holiday break, when the province saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.

  • Orangeville’s second cannabis store, Hempire House, opened up on March 1.

February 18

  • Orangeville resident Julie Tabsing won $1 million through LOTTO 6/49. 

The winning ticket was purchased at Circle K on Dawson Road in Orangeville.

  • Amaranth Mayor Bob Currie was facing some controversy following a comment he made at a Dufferin County Council meeting on Feb. 11.

Following a presentation from the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association (DCCBA) president, Alethia O’Hara Stephenson, Currie commented that not just black lives, but all lives matter. 

“As far as the Black History Month is concerned, I have no problem whatsoever recognizing those people, but the first lady that talks, she talks about Black Lives Matter, well to me you’re discriminating against every other colour there is and all lives matter,” said Currie. 

The comments were condemned by Warden Darren White and other County Councillors.

  • The U.K. variant of COVID-19 was confirmed to be circulating in the Wellington Dufferin Guelph, according to Public Health.  

Three Guelph residents tested positive with the variant. 

  • Alexander Lim was selected as the new Transformation Lead at the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Ontario Health Team. 
  • Road tests resumed in Dufferin County after the Dufferin region moved into the “red” zone of the provincial COVID-19 framework for reopening. 

This zone of the framework allowed people to organize public events and social gatherings limited to five people indoors and 25 outdoors. Restaurants in the region were able to reopen for in-person dining with a capacity of 10 individuals and social distancing. Eateries also had to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and establishments that serve alcohol could only do so between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

  • Public Health announced plans for mass immunization clinics as doses of vaccines for COVID-19 become available. 

These plans led to the opening of the Alder Recreation Centre as a mass vaccination hub. 

February 25

  • Judge Shannon McPherson, who acquitted former Orangeville Police Service officer Stephen Fisher, provided the reasons for her ruling in a court document released Feb. 11.

She cited the Crown not being able to prove a recorded conversation in an interview room was a private communication and the lack of credibility from a witness, as the reasons of her ruling. 

Fisher was charged with disclosure of private communication and breach of trust by a police officer in December of 2018 by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), following an investigation into the release of a video which contained a conversation between two manager officers, allegedly harassing

other OPS employees. Fisher was acquitted of both charges by McPherson on January 15.

  • The Orangeville Public Library on Mill Street geared up to reopen to the public for March 1. 

With restrictions still in place, patrons could browse collections and use computers for the first time since it closed in late December, when the province-wide stay-at-home order was enacted.

  • The Dufferin Community Foundation again doled out money to local charities in need, with the distribution of $30,000 in emergency grant funding.

The money was designated for organizations running mental health and well-being initiatives in Dufferin County. 

  • The announcement was made that a mass vaccine hub is set to open at Orangeville’s Alder Recreation Centre on March 3. 

Alder Recreation Centre was selected for the location of the vaccine clinic for its accessibility, parking and large capacity for vaccinations. When the clinic opens, Public Health says it will have the capacity to do 300 vaccinations per day with the ability to increase to 2,500 per day. 

  • Uber Eats comes to Orangeville, joining SkipTheDishes and Door Dash, for delivering take-out meals to residents’ homes.

March 4

  • The 2021 Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser for the Orangeville Food Bank raised close to $78,000. This is $12,000 more than what was raised last year. Nearly 250 people participated. 
  • Orangeville’s default speed limit drops down from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, having gone into effect March 1. 
  • Laura Campbell announced she is running as the Green Party candidate for Dufferin–Caledon in the 2022 provincial election.

She is the owner of Pia’s on Broadway and a mother of two. Campbell holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Politics, and a Bachelor of Arts from Western University. 

She ran previously as a candidate in 2018, and currently holds the post of Critic on Advanced Education and Skills Development on the Green Party of Ontario’s shadow cabinet. 

  • Josh Wagner, Orangeville boxer, begins training to fight at Centre Videotron in Quebec City for April 17. As of March 4, the super welterweight’s record was 8-0. 
  • The Orangeville Tigers get back on the ice but in a practice-only format

March 11

  • The trial for Amaranth women, Michelle Hanson, who is facing charges related to the 2018 death of her three-year-old son Hayden Young, has been delayed.

While the trial was originally scheduled to begin on Monday (March 8) in Guelph, but was put on hold as jury trials in Ontario are currently not being held due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. 

  • The mass vaccination hub at the Alder Recreation Centre is fully operational now, vaccinating people 80 years of age and older, members of the Indigenous community, frontline workers and caregivers.
  • Following an inspection blitz in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph to check compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and protocols from the province, less than half of all businesses were in compliance.

The blitz took place from Feb. 25 to 28, with a 36 per cent rate of compliance in Orangeville, out of the 70 businesses that were visited. 

  • The Town received just over $430,000 from the provincial government to address operating costs related to the pandemic 

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, announced the funding in a press release on March 4.

  • Ski resorts looked to extend their operation into April to make up for lost time through the shutdown of their hills following new COVID-19 restrictions from the province. 

The announcement of the hills looking to extend operation is weather dependent.

March 18

  • Dufferin County, alongside the world, marked one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

The community, on Tuesday (March 16), also marked the one-year anniversary of the regions first positive case of the novel virus.

  • Orangeville Council approved an early open of patios at restaurants to help them drum up more business as the region remained in the “red” zone of Ontario’s reopening framework. The opening of patios was moved up to April 1 from May 1. 
  • An accelerated PSW program launched at the Orangeville campus of Georgian College, in response to a shortage of PSWs across Ontario.

The locally offered accelerated program is part of the Province’s $115 million investment, aimed at training 8,200 PSWs for high demand jobs in Ontario health and long term care sectors.

  • Headwaters Arts received a grant for $138,900 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create a seasonal outdoor arts space at the Alton Mill Arts Centre.
  • As a number of European countries temporary suspended the distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to blood clotting concerns, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health released a statement saying the jab is still safe.

“Concerns in the European Union that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be connected adverse thromboembolic events (blood clots) in some recipients do not impact the safety or supply of this vaccine in Canada,” said WDG Public Health unit in a press release on March 12.

March 25

  • The Special Investigation Unit launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of an Orangeville man on March 19. 

Dufferin OPP responded to a call at a home on Wellington Street due to an altercation between two individuals. 

According to Dufferin police, once they arrived on scene a male victim was found outside suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a trauma centre with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect, a 54-year-old man, police said had barricaded himself and two other individuals inside of the home.

Police said after a “lengthy” negotiation, the two individuals were removed from the home and checked by Dufferin Emergency Services with no reported injuries. 

OPP officers just before 10 a.m. on Saturday (March 20) entered the home and located the man in the basement, having sustained a fatal gunshot wound.

The SIU said at this time it does not appear that a police-issued firearm was discharged.

  • The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health region moves from “red” to “orange” of the province’s reopening framework. 

The change was made March 19 and allowed for slightly larger gatherings, weddings, and funerals. Restaurant and bars in the region were permitted to have the lesser of approximately 50 per cent capacity for indoor dinning or 100 seated customers. Outdoor seating was limited to allow for 2 metres physical distancing to be maintained.

Gyms and recreational fitness facilities could have a maximum of 50 people indoors in total with weights and exercise machines.

Other changes with the switch to orange include cinemas and performing arts facilities to have limits of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

  • Local paramedic and minor sports volunteer, Carla Burleigh was selected to receive the 2021 Citizen of the Year Award from the Lord Dufferin IODE
  • Dufferin–Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones announces a brand-new long-term care home that’s being built at 515 Broadway, featuring 192 new beds and is expected to begin accepting residents in 2023.

The home will be called Headwaters Long-Term Care Residence by Primacare Living and will have a campus care model.

  • The trial of Michelle Hanson, an Amaranth mother facing charges in relation to the 2018 death of her three-year old son Kaden Young, has been adjourned until March 26, as Ontario courts continue to work on the logistics on holding a jury trial during a global pandemic.

April 1

  • Mayor Sandy Brown stepped down from the Orangeville Police Services Board, following a complaint alleging code of conduct issues and Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh was unanimously voted in as his replacement.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) started an investigation regarding the complaint on March 19, at which time Mayor Brown was notified that he would have to resign while the investigation takes place. However, he said he’ll be resigning until the end of his Council term, which concludes in 2022, in a letter circulated to councillors.

  • Galaxy Cinemas at the Fairgrounds Shopping Centre welcomed back moviegoers last Friday, March 26, following the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region’s move to the Orange zone of the Province’s COVID-19 Framework on March 22.
  • The proposed GTA West Corridor — also known as Highway 413 —came under scrutiny in the communities it will impact.

It’s a polarizing situation due to the environmental consequences on surrounding farms, forests, wetlands, and a section of the Greenbelt.

Seeing a need for increased awareness regarding the concerns around Highway 413, Bolton resident Dan O’Reilly teamed up with fellow resident Julia Galt to bring more acknowledgement to the issues in the area with a Stop Highway 413 sign initiative.

  • The Orangeville Rotary Club announced the recipients of its Community Choice Grants program. 

The five recipients of the grants included three community voted organizations, Streams Community Hub (407 votes), the Alzheimer Society of Dufferin County (367 votes), the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society Orangeville (326 votes), and two Rotary Committee voted non-profits; Fiddlehead Care Farm and Active Lives After School (ALAS) Dufferin.

Each of the five recipients of the grant received $1,000, for a total of $5,000 given out by the Orangeville Highlands Rotary Club.

  • Local ski resorts did what they could to recoup losses when they were shut down during the busiest parts of the season. 

Hockley Valley Resort announced plans to keep their slopes open until April 5, extending past their usual season to offset losses.

April 8

  • Downtown Orangeville was again adorned in green through the annual Green Ribbon Campaign, which is focused on organ and tissue donation awareness.

The campaign is ran throughout April, which is “BeADonor” month, and has been held locally for the past three years by Michelle White.

  • Students in the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) made the shift to remote learning once again, as Public Health issued a Section 22 Order.

Both the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health and UGDSB issued press releases late Monday (April 5) evening notifying that the change would go into effect starting April 7.

  • The Town of Orangeville alongside all other municipalities in Ontario has moved into a four-week stay-at-home order, as the province declares its third state of emergency.

The Ontario government announced the state of emergency and stay-at-home-order in a press conference on April 7, as the number of cases of COVID-19 and hospitalization in the province continues to rise. 

The order went into effect April 8 at 12:01 a.m., and will last at least four weeks.

April 15

  • New safety measures are being taken by Orangeville Council in the Oak Ridge Drive neighbourhood, after an impaired driver crashed into one of the resident’s front lawn. 

A joint motion brought forward by Coun. Lisa Post and Coun. Todd Taylor at a Council meeting on April 12 was passed, which will see a portable speed sign installed at Oak Ridge Drive between Island Lake Public School and the street’s hairpin bend.

A sign is also to be installed; warning of the bend on the north side of the road near Graham Crescent.

  • Orangeville saw its first protest against forced business closures and lockdown restrictions on April 11, with over 100 people gathering at the intersection of Broadway and First Street. 

While some protestors had clear messages of support for small businesses, stressing that all sectors are essential, others held up signs calling the measures tyrannical and a violation of their Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

While the rally was peaceful, there was an incident where an attendee, who’s the alleged protest organizer, was charged with failure to comply with an order made during a declared emergency contrary to the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act.

Under the order, outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people, while the protest had over 100.

  • Local eight-year-old boy Chase Donnell fundraised $3,000 for the Orangeville and District SPCA through a bath bomb fundraiser that began in mid-February.
  • Mayor Sandy Brown brought forward a notice of motion at an April 12 Council meeting, notifying councillors he’s looking to create a Mayor’s Special Committee on Men’s Homelessness.
  • Dufferin County councillors took some time during their regular Council meeting last Thursday (April 8) to pay their respects to former chief building inspector, Mike Giles. He passed away on March 21 at the age of 62.
  • The Ontario government ordered hospitals to ramp down elective surgeries and non-emergent/non-urgent care activities. Headwaters Health Care Centre announced they would be pausing elective surgeries on April 9.

April 22

  • Preparations are being made for the filming of a new television series in Orangeville. 

Marble Media OU Productions Inc. selected Orangeville for some of their exterior location base for the series “Overlords and Underwoods”. They will be filming in Orangeville for several days, starting on April 28, necessitating some traffic stoppages and some recreation park closures.

  • Almost $50,000 in grant funding was distributed at Orangeville Council’s April 12 meeting divided between the local Senior Citizen Centre, Optimist Club, Tennis Club, Rotary Club, and Kin Club. 
  • The Lord Dufferin IODE announced the date of their 27th Annual Geranium Sale, which is May 27, 28 and 29.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health identified the first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant on April 16.
  • Orangeville boxer Josh Wagner’s fight card at the Centre Videotron Arena in Quebec City is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 29

  • Mayor Sandy Brown forms a Special Committee on Men’s Homelessness during Council’s regular meeting on April 26.
  • Coun. Lisa Post is acclaimed as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Dufferin County, set to run in the next federal election. 

Post announced her intention to run under the Liberal Party last December and told the Citizen she is unbelievably excited for the opportunity to campaign in the Dufferin–Caledon riding, having a long family history in the area.

  • The Upper Grand District Scholastic’s Board announced the appointment of Peter Sovran as its new director of education, effective Sept. 1.
  • Grand Valley man, Clive Campbell, won $50,000 from the ONTARIO 49 lottery. The winning ticket was purchased at Dost Petroleum on Hurontario Street in Inglewood
  • The forced closure of golf courses in Ontario didn’t go over well with the industry, as Golf Ontario lobbied the Province to allow courses to remain open. 

The organization insists golf is a safe activity due to the inherent physical distancing that takes place on the course.

They also stress that the sport promotes good exercise and mental health as people like to play for the challenge of the game as well as the serenity of getting out on the course.

The lobbying efforts at that time, however, fell flat. 

  • Ontario saw its first case of blood clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 on April 23. 

May 6

  • The Dufferin Community Foundation announced they’re again able to support not-for-profits who operate programs with a focus on mental health after doling out $30,000 earlier in the year.

This time the donation is for $35,000 and was dispersed between four charities: Big Brothers and Big Sisters Dufferin and District, Canadian Mental Health Association Peel–Dufferin, the tele check program offered through Headwaters Hospital, and Family Transition Place.

  • The federal government promised an amendment to Bill C-10 following an uproar of controversy and criticism over the legislation’s potential to infringe on Canadian’s freedom of expression.

The criticism stemmed from the removal of an amendment to the bill last week that protected user generated content from being regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on social media platforms.

Without the protection, former CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies called Bill C-10 an “assault” on Canadian’s ability to post their opinion online. Part of the legislation states user generated content can be flagged by the CRTC, which forces Canadians to remove their post or video within 24 hours, effectively subjecting all online speech to government review, without any clear mandate.

  • The first Indian grocery store opens in Orangeville, Fig Grocers. Located at 163 First Street, the grocery store offers popular Indian spices, snacks, vegetables, ready-to-go meals, and beverages, a frozen section, and some Canadian products as well. 

May 13

  • Municipal transit at the push of a button is coming to Orangeville, following Council’s unanimous decision to approve a pilot program for on-demand transit services during a meeting on May 10.

Town staff are engaging a consultant to assist in adding an on-demand route on top of two existing fixed routes, in an effort to increase accessibility and ridership numbers among residents in areas with low uptake.

On-demand transit differs from conventional service in that there’s no fixed route or schedule, buses are dispatched as requested during service hours, allowing for a greater coverage area, as the Town’s current system only covers two thirds of the municipality.

  • The Dufferin Board of Trade made rapid COVID-19 testing kits available to small businesses in the region, with the hope of better tracking asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in workplaces.

Launched in Dufferin County on May 6, the new program provides free kits for rapid COVID-19 testing to local businesses with 150 employees or less.

  • Dunk Disposal launched a bike drive to help support Youth Unlimited’s Heartbeat Bikes program. 

Used or broken bikes are taken in to be reassembled and repurposed by youth, with the help of volunteers and mentors. The bikes were then put up for sale, and the revenue from that helped to support the program.

As an incentive to donate, Dunk Disposal gave a discount on his junk removal services to anyone donating bicycles for the bike drive.

May 20 

  • With no safe place to cross the street at Rolling Hills Drive, a group of residents living there launched an online petition to have a stop sign installed.

Shortly after the petition’s launch it garnered 250 signatures and was submitted as an agenda item on Orangeville Council’s June 14 meeting. 

  • As the provincial stay-at-home-order exertion coincides with a decrease in cases in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health region, WDGPH associate medical officer Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum told the Citizen it’s still the right decision. 

He said the region needed to see a more significant decline in case counts before feeling comfortable with loosening restrictions.

  • The Town of Orangeville adopted a target for net zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) by 2050 at its Council meeting on May 10. 

Town staff are now in the process of developing and setting an interim community emissions reduction target once specific mitigation actions are prioritized dependent on level of impact, available resources, and support.

  • The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival received a boost in funding from the Town. Out of the 2021 Community Grants Program, Council approved $15,000 in funding to cover costs associated with performer fees and a social media marketing campaign during its May 10 meeting.
  • Over 200 parking tickets were issued on the weekend of May 14-16 at Mono Cliffs Park, as it became a prime destination for GTA residents looking to hike. 

Parking on both sides of the road, in no parking zones, created several traffic related issues in the area.

  • The federal government announced it will be conducting an environmental assessment on the proposed GTA West Corridor (Hwy 413)

With the federal government carrying out the environmental assessment, the Ontario government has to submit a project description. Upon submitting a project description, the Agency makes a determination in a two- to-three-month timeframe from when they receive the documents.

May 27

  • The Ontario government unveiled their Roadmap to Reopening on May 20, outlining a lifting of lockdown measures as vaccination rates rise.

Step One will begin after 60 per cent of Ontario adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Step Two after 70 per cent, and Step Three after 70 to 80 per cent.

  • The community rallied together, raising over $4,000 through GoFundMe for the Jago family in Amaranth that are facing extraordinary medical challenges.

Larissa Jago and her three- year-old son, Hayden have been at Sick Kids for the past six months, where he’s spent most of his life, undergoing 14 surgeries and is currently receiving hemodialysis six days a week as he has no kidneys. Hayden also gets seizures due to a stroke he suffered at one month old.

The Jago family was blown away by the community’s support, and say they are incredibly grateful. 

  • In real estate, Orangeville continues to see a sellers’ market, with inventory slowly increasing.

Year to date, houses were up 30 per cent in Dufferin County, with average days a house was on the market hovering between six and 10 days.

  • A Park Warden was struck by a vehicle at Mono Cliffs Park on May 23, as parking issues continued to intensify in the area.

Almost every weekend since the warm weather arrived, hundreds of vehicles are being ticketed for parking infractions. 

The Park Warden who was struck by a vehicle was hit after the driver of the vehicle refused to follow the Warden’s directions. 

As a result, a Brampton resident was charged with Dangerous Operation and Resisting Arrest. 

  • Headwaters is slowly restarting elective surgeries and procedures on May 31 after pausing them since April 20 due to COVID-19.
  • Golf reopens in the province, after strong lobbying efforts by the industry and residents, and as the Province moves into its Roadmap to Reopening plan. 
  • Greyhound Canada shut down permanently after more than a year without revenue.

June 3

  • Flags at Town of Orangeville facilities have been lowered as a sign of collective mourning of the remains of 215 children found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. The flags were set to remain lowered until June 8 for a total of 215 hours, one hour for each child found.
  • The community lost Peter Renshaw on May 28 at 65 years of age, and councillors, leaders, as well as heads of local organizations grieved his passing.

Renshaw was the first male president of Family Transition Place’s Board of Directors, sat as chair on the Dufferin Board of Trade, and co-chaired the Town’s Business Economic Development Advisory Committee.

  • In April, the Headwaters Health Care Foundation (HHCF) launched the “Investing in a Clearer Picture” campaign to bring state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technology to the hospital.

All gifts to the campaign made in April and May were matched dollar for dollar, to a maximum of $200,000, for the purchase of two new ultrasound machines. HHCF announced $200,049 was raised by the community.

  • The Lord Dufferin IODE’s 27th Annual Geranium Fundraiser was a major success, quickly selling out of all 4,000 plants, and raising a total of roughly $7,000.
  • The Town of Amaranth had its very first Pride flag raising on June 1 to mark Pride Month. A motion was moved by Council in July 2020 to have the multi-coloured flag raised for the month of June, following controversial comments from Mayor Bob Currie. 
  • Curry Mantra suffered a grease fire on June 1 that was deemed non-suspicious.
  • Theatre Orangeville received a $146,200 grant on May 21 to help the organization recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 10 

  • Orangeville Zehrs showed its support for the LGBTQ+ community in Dufferin County on June 3 by hanging a large rainbow banner that reads Pride & Diversity Day in Dufferin Canada.

For Celebrate Your Awesome’s 2021 event, the group announced it will be holding it virtually this year, with it being recorded at Theatre Orangeville in July and slated for release in August.

  • The 10 and 10 Garden Centre raised $65,000 through the month of May, which is being divided between 23 different charities in the region.

The funds were raised by setting aside 10 per cent of all sales for the month of May. 

The $65,000 donation is almost triple the $25,000 that was raised by 10 and 10 in May of 2020, showing the greenhouse’s growth over the last year. 

  • Premier Doug Ford announces students won’t be returning to classrooms for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year and will continue to learn from home.
  • Ontario begins Stage One of the Roadmap to Reopening on June 11.
  • A new mural was installed on the side of Gauntlet Comics (5 First Street) by the GLOW LGBTQ2S+ Youth Group as part of its “Crystal Queer” project last week.

GLOW is hosted through Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) and the youth-led Crystal Queer project was created by GLOW in response to the increased isolation and mental health challenges youth are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 17

  • A local vigil was held at the Muslims of Dufferin Mosque in Orangeville on June 11, following the targeted attack of a Muslim family in London, Ont.

A prayer was said for the family, who are Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Salman’s mother, Talat Afzaal, 74. They were killed on June 6 after a truck rammed into the family as they were taking an evening walk.

The family’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, is the only survivor and remains in hospital. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and terrorism charges.

  • Orangeville Council unanimously approved a stop sign for Rolling Hills Drive at their regular meeting on June 14.

The approved stop sign comes after a petition with 275 signatures was brought forward to Council, requesting that a stop sign be installed.

  • Two rainbow coloured Pride crosswalks were completed on June 14 at the intersections of Broadway/Wellington and Broadway/Mill Street. They act as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region has been declared an area of concern for the Delta variant of COVID-19 on June 10.
  • Robert Hawkins of Mulmur won big on LOTTO MAX with a $712,820 win. The winning ticket was purchased at Town Milk Variety on Main Street East in Shelburne.

June 24

  • The Rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Broadway/Mill Street was vandalized with black spray paint one day after its installation.
  • Chase Donell, a local eight-year-old boy, donated a little over $1,300 to Headwaters Health Care Foundation through his bath bomb fundraiser.

Donnell said he chose to support Headwaters because his grandpa receives care at the hospital and he saw they were fundraising for the purchase and replacement of medical equipment.

  • Ontario in the last week has surpassed the vaccination threshold required to enter both Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the government’s Roadmap to Reopen, leading Ontarians to wonder if an early move in economic re­opening is coming sooner than expected.

The government’s plan to reopen the econ­omy, known as the Roadmap to Reopen, has been based on province-wide vaccination rates as well as key public health and health care indicators, including declining hospital­ization, ICU occupancy and positivity rates.

To move to Stage 2, the province would need 70 per cent of adults to be vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent fully vaccinat­ed while to move to Stage 3, it would need 70 to 80 percent with one dose and 25 per cent with two.

Ontario, as of Tuesday (June 22) had 76 percent of adults aged 18 and up with one dose and 25 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.

Mayor Sandy Brown of Orangeville and Mayor Wade Mills of Shelburne both expressed support for an early reopening, while Public Health officials cautioned against it.

  • Headwaters Health Care Foundation CEO Dora Boylen-Pabst submitted her resignation, with a final work day on July 23.
  • A Grade 6 student at Orangeville’s Mont­gomery Village Public School is making a difference through her writing. Kara entered the national Habitat for Humani­ty’s Meaning of Home annual writing con­test and was chosen as the 2021 grand prize winner for Grade 6. Her poem, “What home means to me,” has earned Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga-Dufferin a $30,000 grant to help build homes.

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