2022 Year in Review 1/2

January 5, 2023   ·   0 Comments

Attention Readers!

For our first edition of the Orangeville Citizen in 2023, we’re taking you through all of the highs and lows over the first six months of 2022.

The first half of our 2022 Year in Review will share some of the most significant stories impacting our readers from Jan. 6 to June 30.

Next week we will publish the second half of our Year in Review with all of the highlights from July 7 to Dec. 22. 

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

Jan. 6

  • Ontario reintroduces COVID-19 restrictions on Jan. 3 in response to cases of Omicron rising exponentially. In-person learning and indoor dining was shut down. Social gathering limits and capacity at public events was limited to five people. 

Employers were tasked with ensuring their employees worked remotely where possible. Weddings, funerals, religious services, rites and ceremonies were permitted at 50 per cent capacity, along with shopping malls and public libraries. Indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, historic sites and tour guide services were also shut down. 

  • The Upper Grand District School Board announced plans for a shift to remote learning from Jan. 5 to 17. 
  • The first baby of 2022 is born at Headwaters Health Care Centre at 1:11 a.m. on Jan. 1, weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces. In 2020 there were almost 900 deliveries at Headwaters.

Jan. 13

  • Five acres of land associated with the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation was sold to the City of Brampton for $24.24 million. In 2020, Orangeville Council, as the lone shareholder of ORDC, directed the board to sell or lease rail line assets.
  • A local company aimed at reducing plastic waste, EcoTank, launched its first windshield wiper fluid refill station at the local 7-Eleven. The refill station eliminates the need for plastic jugs that hold windshield washing fluid, in turn helping the environment.
  • Headwaters pauses non-emergent surgeries/procedures, non-urgent diagnostic imaging and ambulatory clinical activity in response to the province’s directives to combat a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases due to Omicron. The pause in non-emergent surgeries was intended to preserve hospital bed capacity and health human resources.
  • Family Transition Place received $22,500 and Kerry’s Place received $116,700 from the provincial government for upgrades and repairs.

Jan. 20

  • Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) students have returned to the classroom for the first time since winter break and despite high cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the region’s top doctor has said the benefits of reopening schools outweigh the short-term risk.

Nicola Mercer released a statement last Friday (Jan. 14) ahead of the scheduled return to in-person learning on Jan. 17, noting the importance of in-person learning on children, their families, and the community as a whole.

  • Michelle Hanson, the 38-year-old Amaranth mother who plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death in the 2018 drowning of her three-year-old Kaden Young, received a two-year conditional sentence.

Hanson appear in an Orangeville courtroom via video conference on Jan. 18 for her sentencing hearing. The courtroom heard that Hanson will serve the first 18 months of her two-year conditional sentence under house arrest. A three-year driving probation is also to take effect following the completion of the conditional sentence. Hanson will be required to attend grief and substance abuse counselling over the two years of the house arrest and during her one year of probation.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2018, Hanson’s vehicle was pulled into the Grand River during a period of heavy flooding which saw river water rise up onto the road. Hanson had taken her three-year-old son Kaden, who was having trouble sleeping, for a drive into Grand Valley where she planned to attend a convenience store.

Within minutes of leaving her home, Hanson drove her vehicle around a road-closed barrier on the 10th Line of Amaranth onto a flooded section of the road, resulting in the vehicle being swept into the river. Hanson was able to escape the vehicle with Kaden, but lost grip of him as they were pushed down the river by the strong current. She was pulled from the river by EMS.

An agreed statement of facts said paramedics attending to Hanson detected an odour of alcohol and blood samples obtained at the hospital showed a blood alcohol concentration of 60 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Oxycodone was also detected but was noted to be a concentration associated with a ‘therapeutic range’

In the weeks following, hundreds of volunteers from the community searched the banks of the Grand River for Kaden’s body. On April, 2021, two months to the day of the incident, Kaden’s body was recovered in Belwood Lake.

 Hanson was charged in October of 2018, and ordered to stand trial on counts of impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death following a preliminary inquiry in 2019.

Hanson plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death in November of 2021, and the charge of impaired driving causing death was dropped as part of the plea deal.

  • Island Lake Family Park in Mono was hit with graffiti, leaving much of the playground equipment and some park benches tagged with spray paint. On. Jan. 11 Dufferin OPP received a report of mischief from a concerned citizen regarding graffiti at the park, at which time an officer arrived at the scene and an investigation commenced.

Jan. 27

  • A convoy of big rigs and motor vehicles will be rolling through Orangeville tomorrow (Jan. 28) in support of a nationwide protest against vaccine mandates for truckers and all Canadians.

The convoy, which organizers estimate will be roughly 50 vehicles long, with more than a dozen semis, will roll through town at 11 a.m., coming down Highway 10 before turning onto Highway 9 towards Highway 400 South and then onto Highway 401 East to Ottawa, with Parliament Hill as the final destination for Saturday (Jan. 29).

There they will be joined by tens of thousands of truckers and supporters that left from Vancouver on Jan. 23 and Nova Scotia today (Jan. 27), in addition to countless informal convoys across the country for a massive protest. The convoys that began in Vancouver and Nova Scotia grow larger with each city they pass through, as supporters and fellow truckers across Canada join in.

  • The County of Dufferin proposes a 0.96 per cent budget increase for 2022.
  • Orangeville council considers crisis care beds and a warming centre for the winter season at a Jan. 24 council meeting. The Orangeville Fire Hall on Dawson Rd. is being considered for the location of crisis beds as it will be vacant when the town’s new fire hall opens in the spring of 2024.
  • The 2nd Annual Food Bank Street Challenge (FBSC) officially wrapped up last weekend and the numbers are in. Nearly 7,500 lbs of non-perishable food was collected and donated since the challenge kicked off in early October, with about half being kept in Orangeville.

Mono resident Jaylen Padayachee, 13, with the help of his dad Koven, created the challenge in November of 2020 when he realized the local food bank wasn’t receiving as many donations as normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this year’s challenge didn’t raise as many donations as last year, which topped 30,000 lbs, organizers are still happy that the 7,500 lbs of food will go out to those who need it most.

  • Mono Council’s 2022 Draft Budget is currently at a 2.4 per cent tax levy increase, much lower than the originally proposed 10.9 per cent increase from staff, during a meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 25).

Council members struggled to keep the tax levy increase to 2.4 per cent, they examined the budget document line by line seeking to reduce it by some $700,000 to reach the 2.4 per cent target. It was an arduous meeting, which saw Council reduce a number of capital reserves in their efforts to keep the tax levy increase low.

  • The Ontario government has announced the gradual easing of COVID-19 public health measures with the first step in a three-step plan. Starting Jan. 31, social gathering limits will increase to up to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. A number of indoor businesses and setting will be permitted to reopen with a capacity limit of 50 per cent, including restaurants, bars, retailers, shopping malls, grocery stores, pharmacies, gyms, cinemas, museums, galleries, casinos, and religious services. Ontario will enter the final step of its reopening plan on March 14 with a lifting of capacity limits in all indoor public settings.
  • A 44-year-old Orangeville man wanted on an arrest warrant in connection to the murder of a women in Shelburne has been found dead. Dufferin OPP announced on Jan. 20 that the body of Scott Pinney had been discovered inside his abandoned vehicle in a secluded area near Hearst, Ont. on Jan. 17 by a passerby. The death has not been deemed suspicious or a suicide, according to police.

Feb. 3

  • Hundreds of Orangeville residents lined Highway 10 despite the -34°C wind chill last Friday (Jan. 28), holding up signs of support as a convoy of over 100 vehicles, led by big rigs, rolled through town on its way to Ottawa.

In the morning, every few vehicles that passed by honked their horns in support of the protestors, until the convoy arrived around noon, a little behind schedule. Despite the holdup, hundreds of the convoy supporters didn’t budge and braved the cold for well over an hour, with a common goal of ending vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions.

Protestors said they want people who lost their jobs over COVID vaccine mandates to be reinstated, noting people who are vaccinated can spread the virus just as easily. Protestors also said they were opposed to their kids being unable to play sports and the shutting down of schools.

The trucks in the local convoy started in Owen Sound and joined a larger convoy of vehicles in Belleville before heading to Parliament Hill. There they joined thousands of truckers and people through the weekend, protesting vaccine mandates.

Dufferin OPP say they did not encounter any issues with the people participating in the convoy or anyone that assembled to view the convoy. No roads were closed but police did momentarily block traffic in Shelburne and Orangeville to facilitate the safe movement of the general public and the convoy through Dufferin County.

  • Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback expressed his support for the Freedom Convoy and penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking that he reverse the federal government’s decision to require cross-border truckers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The policy came into effect Jan. 15, and is expected to ground 26,000 of the 160,00 trucker drivers who make regular cross-border trips.

Seeback told the Citizen the policy won’t make a difference with the Omicron variant, as it has already travelled widely across the world, and forcing more truckers to get vaccinated won’t stop the spread.

  • The fire department will lose about 20 per cent of its volunteer members on Feb. 11 for failing to comply with the Town’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. This represents four of 21 volunteers. 
  • Thousands of protestors united against COVID-19 mandates gathered at the Nation’s Capital over the weekend to protest against vaccine mandates for truckers and all industries, along with other COVID-19 restrictions.

Saskatchewan Premiere Scott Moe released a statement during the height of the “Freedom Rally” last Saturday, saying he’s against the vaccine mandates for truckers, citing that they don’t stop transmission. He added that this is the reason why his government will soon be ending the proof-of-vaccination system for Saskatchewan.

Feb. 10

  • In one of many Jordanian refugee camps sits roughly 200,000 displaced Syrians, who’s homes and lives have been destroyed through a civil war that started in 2011. Sadly, most of the Syrian refugees will never make out of the camp, but a local non-profit group, First Line for Syria, is working to create a difference one family at a time.

Last October, after much fundraising and four years of trying to bring eight members of the Al Diri family to the region, the group was successful and reconnected them with their relatives who live locally.

While the volunteers at First Line for Syria are ecstatic they were able to reconnect several members of the Al Diri family, their two brothers, two sisters-in-law and nine children (nieces/nephews/cousins) have been left behind. To reconnect the 13 remaining relatives of the Al Diri family, First Line for Syria needs to raise $160,000, so it recently launched a fundraiser with Mochaberry Coffee (177 Broadway).

First Line for Syria started in 2015 and welcomed their first Syrian refugee family, the Huseyin Alos’s, to Dufferin County in February of 2016.

  • The 5th Annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser is returning to Orangeville Feb. 26 and will be running in-person for the first time since 2020. The event is a family-friendly walk, featuring 2km and 5km routes, with the goal of raising $75,000 this year for the Orangeville Food Bank. So far about $43,000 has been donated, with 40 teams and almost 200 walkers registered.
  • The Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands is again inviting the public to help them help choose which local charities and nonprofits will receive one of five “no strings attached” $1,000 grants. Nominations are open from Feb. 14 to 28 and people can nominate any charity or non-profit that serves the local community.
  • Canadian flags and signs calling for an end to COVID-19 restrictions/mandates filled Orangeville’s Canadian Tire parking lot (95 First Street) on Feb. 5. Close to 100 vehicles and half a dozen big rigs were lined up for the local “Freedom Convoy”, which left for Queens Park in Toronto around 11 a.m. There, participants of the convoy met with thousands of protestors to voice their opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
  • Ontario has begun to ease visiting restrictions at long-term care homes as public health indicators for COVID-19 continue to trend downward. As of Monday (Feb. 7) the number of designated caregivers per resident has increased from two to four, while still being subject to a limit of two per resident at a time. Residents who have had at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are also able to resume social day trips.
  • Mono Council approved their 2022 Budget during their Feb. 8 Council meeting with a 2.4 per cent tax levy increase.
  • Dufferin OPP has laid charges in relation to several acts of mischief to property throughout Dufferin County. Since the summer of 2021, Dufferin OPP has responded to multiple calls for service regarding graffiti to property in several areas of the region. On Jan. 11, 2022, Dufferin OPP received a report of mischief from a concerned citizen regarding graffiti at Island Lake Family Park in the Town of Mono. The complainant reported that playground equipment as well as park benches had been spray painted. On Feb. 2, 2022, after an investigation, members of the Dufferin OPP Community Street Crime Unit made an arrest for these graffiti incidents.

February 17

  • At a recent public meeting where a proposed nine-storey development was brought forward, Orangeville Council members and residents expressed several concerns, sending the developers and architect back to the drawing board. The nine-storey mixed-use building, containing 97 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and 253 parking spots at 33-37 Broadway, was presented by Elite Developments and Weston Consulting last Monday (Feb. 7). The meeting was for information only as no official decisions were made.

Members of the public and Council shared the view that the height, as well as design for the development, weren’t appropriate for its location at Angel’s Diner and the former Blackout Night Club, as it’s an entrance into Orangeville for people travelling west off Hwy 10.

  • Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback has changed his tune with respect to the ongoing “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa, which call for an end to the cross-border vaccine mandate for truckers and all remaining COIVD restrictions.

He said he agrees with the Federal Conservatives interim party leader Candice Bergen’s comments last Thursday (Feb. 10), that it’s time for the protestors to go home.

Seeback attended the demonstrations in Ottawa on the weekend of Jan. 29-30 and said he was impressed by the amount of people coming together to voice their frustrations with COVID restrictions and lockdowns, and showed his support, but with the protest now in its third week, he says their message has gotten across and it needs to end.

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) will begin gradual resumptions of elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures as of Feb. 22. The Ontario government announced the lifting of Directive 2 last Thursday (Feb. 10) as the province sees a continued decline in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and ICU admission.

The directive, a measure which paused all non-emergent surgeries and procedures in the province, was issued by the provincial government last month in response to the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

  • Ontario has moved to the second phase of its reopening plan and plans to remove its proof of vaccine system on March 1 Premier Doug Ford announced the move, which occurred four days ahead of schedule, during a press conference on Monday (Feb. 14).
  • Dufferin County has announced the appointment of their first-ever director of people and equity – Rohan Thompson.
  • Jennifer Grant, founder of Harmony Whole Foods Market on First Street, passed away earlier this month on Feb. 2. She was a pioneer, passionate about bringing more conscientiousness to what we consume. Her passion, her kindness and her personal generosity fill the memories of so many of the people who knew her. She leaves behind her two children, her daughter Katy and her husband Nick and their daughter Grace. Also, her son, Evan Borgstrom, his wife Eva and their children Zoe and Milo.

Feb. 24

  • Local law enforcement and leaders experienced a chilly splash this long weekend as they took part in the annual Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympic athletes. 

The local Polar Plunge was held on Friday (Feb. 18) at the Dufferin OPP Detachment in Orangeville and saw a small group of seven participants ‘freezing for a reason’ as Dufferin-Caledon Special Olympic athletes doused them with buckets of water.

A provincial-wide donation goal of $350,000 has been set in honour of the 35th anniversary of the Polar Plunge, with over $35,000 raised at the time of print.

  • Orangeville Council is now looking to create a crisis care bed facility instead of a men’s homeless shelter. Council unanimously passed a motion to appropriate and reserve the Fire Hall at 10 Dawson Road for the creation of a crisis care facility ran by Services and Housing in the Province (SHIP), during a meeting last Monday (Feb. 14).
  • Canada will remain in a state of emergency up to mid-March at the latest. A 185-151 vote in the House of Commons on Monday evening approved the Emergencies Act for an additional 30 days, despite the three-week “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa being fully dismantled over the weekend, and border blockades being cleared over a week ago. Fears still exist there could be a resurgence. 

Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback says since the Emergencies Act was invoked on Feb. 14, he’s firmly stood against it. He told the Citizen when it comes to there being an emergency, national in scope – he doesn’t see it.

  • The County of Dufferin will terminate its emergency declaration on March 1 after being in effect for almost two years. The declaration was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s top doctor is soon rescinding her Letter of Instruction regarding proof of vaccination requirements at facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities. Dr. Nicola Mercer’s letter went into effect on Sept. 23, 2021, in alignment with the provincial COVID-19 vaccine passport program, but with the program being lifted March 1, WDG Public Health is following suit.
  • Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback has been named the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, as part of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet for the first session of the 44th Parliament on Feb. 22.

March 3

  • Orangeville Town Hall is currently being lit blue and yellow at night in solidarity with Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russian troops. Council unanimously approved a motion to fly the Ukrainian flag on the flagpole in front of Town Hall or somewhere within the building for the duration of the crisis, during a regular meeting on Monday (Feb. 28).
  • After six months of searching, Choices Youth Shelter has found an appropriate location to open a men’s emergency shelter in Orangeville. 

Funding has verbally been secured by the County of Dufferin, who administers the money through the provincial and federal government. They’re releasing start-up funds to help get the shelter converted and will determine a budget over the next couple of months.

Choices opened Orangeville’s very first homeless shelter for men on Aug. 9 of last year, but it was closed two months later on Oct. 8 due to a lack of funding at the time.

  • Family Transition Place (FTP) is planning an expansion. The organization is proposing an addition to its building on 20 Bredin Parkway that will feature 15 single apartments and four family units, along with group space, common areas, and potentially a space for community use. The apartments will go to the women and children fleeing domestic violence who FTP serves.
  • An exciting new project is underway at Branching Out Support Services (BOSS), an organization that offers programming to adults with developmental differences. BOSS is working on launching the CommonFare Kitchen, which will offer culinary training and workshops when renovations to the kitchen are complete and it opens in the spring. The kitchen is located within the BOSS building at 5 First Street.
  • A record was broken over the weekend here in Orangeville. Just over $100,000 was raised for the local food bank during the 5th Annual Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) walk on Saturday (Feb. 26), far exceeding the charity’s goal of generating $75,000, and last year’s record of just under $80,000. A total of 308 walkers participated across 52 teams.
  • The Town of Orangeville terminated its emergency declaration on Tuesday (March 1). The Town declared an emergency on March 20, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the provincial declaration three days earlier.
  • Local boxer Josh Wagner is in the big leagues after winning a unanimous decision in his fight against David Martinez Chavez in front of several thousand fans at the CAA Centre in Brampton on Feb. 26. The super welterweight dominated the eight-round bout and extended his professional career record to 10-0.

March 10

  • International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global celebration of the accomplishments of women and in honour of the day, Family Transition Place (FTP) made sure phenomenal women in the community were recognized. Driving in Dufferin County signs reading “phenomenal women work here” or “a phenomenal woman lives here” can be spotted in front of houses and businesses. The signs are part of Family Transition Place’s second Phenomenal Women Campaign, which looks to acknowledge the community’s remarkable women.
  • Amid the torrent of world condemnation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the community came together at Alexandra Park to show their support for the Ukrainian people on Saturday (March 5). Around 200 attendees heard from local politicians and Ukrainian leaders, who spoke out against the war being waged on their homeland.
  • For four years the Shelburne Multicultural Event has celebrated diversity within the community and now organizers of the annual event will be able to do so year-round. Althea Alli, founder and president of the Shelburne Multicultural Event, announced on March 2 that the annual event had officially become a non-profit known as Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation.
  • The Ontario government will be lifting mask mandates in most settings on March 21 and is set to drop all mandates by the end of April. Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’s chief medical officer of health, announced the new changes in a press conference on Wednesday (March 9)

March 17

  • The horrifying images of war stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led a local business owner to travel to the region to provide humanitarian aid. Mono resident Nishan Kooner, who owns 10 and 10 Garden Centre, has been following the conflict since it started in late February and said he can no longer watch from afar.

Kooner told the Citizen he doesn’t agree with war and isn’t going there to fight, instead he plans to bring pet food and other supplies to animals and people in need.

Kooner caught a flight to London last night (March 16) and today he’s making his way into France, where he’ll road trip to Hungary from, before reaching Ukraine.

  • The sound of live music will be heard throughout the downtown core in less than three months with the long-awaited return of Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival. The three-day event is running June 3 to 5 this year and will feature over 80 acts. Blues and Jazz Festival president Josh Leitch said he and the other organizers are thrilled to be bringing the annual event back after pausing it for the last two years due to COVID-19.
  • A temporary measure is becoming permanent concerning open-air fires in Orangeville residents’ backyards. Council passed a bylaw last spring extending outdoor burning hours from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. to 12 p.m.-11 p.m., providing residents with a wider window of time to enjoy fires in their backyard. This came as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were keeping people at home. In a 4-3 vote during an Orangeville Council meeting last Monday (March 8), councillors voted to make the measure permanent.
  • Dufferin County Council is showing its support for Ukraine after passing motions to raise the nation’s flag and provide funding to assist humanitarian aid and relief efforts as attacks by the Russian military continue. During their meeting on March 10, a motion was brought forward by Warden Wade Mills, to fly the Ukrainian flag at county offices as a visual display of their solidarity with Ukraine and condemning of Russia’s aggressions.

March 24

  • An overall improvement to internet speeds and services is underway in Orangeville. Wightman Telecom recently started construction for fibre optic internet locally and plans to cover the whole town over the next four years at a cost of roughly $60-65 million. Wightman celebrated the grand opening of their storefront in Orangeville last Thursday (March 17) at 95 First Street, Unit B4.
  • A local resident’s hard work and commitment to making Orangeville a better place is being recognized. The IODE Lord Dufferin Chapter presented Don Voisey with their annual Citizenship Award last Friday (March 18) afternoon at the Centre Fellowship Church (375 Hansen Blvd.).
  • Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada as of April 1. The federal government announced in a press conference last Thursday (March 17) it would be eliminating the testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers entering the county by air, land or water.

March 31

  • A Mono resident and business owner is helping transport animals out of Ukrainian cities that are actively under attack by Russia. Since arriving in Ukraine two weeks ago, Nishan Kooner, owner of 10 and 10 Garden Centre, has been dropping off supplies and transporting pets who have been abandoned or are stuck in shelled animal shelters. Over the weekend, he helped transport a lion out of the Kyiv Zoo, with the not-for-profit organization Breaking the Chains, who he’s been working with. Kooner noted they’ve been rescuing other animals at the zoo and the lion likely won’t be the last one they transport out, as Russian forces continue to attack Kyiv.
  • The Orangeville Lions Home and Garden Show returned to the local fairgrounds over the weekend for the first time since 2019. During the event, money was collected for humanitarian relief in Ukraine through Lions Club International (LCI) and $1,200 was raised.
  • Six not-for-profit organizations in Orangeville are getting a financial boost. Orangeville Council approved the distribution of $56,000 to six organizations for its 2022 Community Grant Allocations during a regular Council meeting last Monday (March 21). The organizations include Orangeville Blues and Jazz, the Optimist Club of Orangeville, the Rotary Club of Orangeville, the Orangeville and Headwaters Minor Baseball Association, Orangeville and District Horticultural Society and Hospice Dufferin.

April 7

  • Five local not-for-profit organizations are getting a boost in funding. Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands announced the recipients of their Community Choice Grants program, who are receiving $1,000 each, last Thursday.

The program works by encouraging people to vote for their favourite non-profits on the Rotary Club’s website, and the three with the most votes receive a $1,000 grant. The two other recipients are personally selected by the Rotary Grants Committee with a view of supporting less well-known charities serving Orangeville.

This year’s winners of the program by vote are Diabetes Canada D-Camp (693 votes), Josh Project Foundation (613 votes), and Achill Choral Society (549 votes), while Branching Out Support Services and Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation were chosen by the Rotary Club.

  • Funding has officially been secured for Choices Youth Shelter’s new emergency homeless shelter for men. Choices purchased a second property for the men’s shelter project in mid-March and funding to cover start-up costs as well as operational costs was officially secured through Dufferin County about a week ago. Funding had always been verbally promised but now is in writing.
  • As warmer spring weather arrives in Dufferin County, residents might find their trees home to a reappearing pest. The Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) is predicting an increase in the population of the Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD) moth, also known as the spongy moth, across the province this year.
  • Orangeville Council is trying to determine the feasibility of a fare-free transit system. A motion brought forward by Coun. Grant Peters asking Town staff to provide a report outlining a two-year pilot program for fare-free transit was unanimously approved during a March 21 Council meeting.

Orangeville offered fare-free transit successfully from April 2020 to March 2021 as a COVID-19 relief measure. It is estimated to cost roughly $180,000 per year to offer free transit rides in Orangeville.

April 14

  • A local man is continuing his efforts to rescue as many animals as possible from shelled areas in Ukraine. Owner of 10 and 10 Garden Centre, Nishan Kooner, was operating out of the Ukraine and Romania border, transporting supplies to animal shelters and rescuing pets from ones that have been abandoned. 

Kooner arrived in Ukraine in mid-March and spent two weeks there before returning to Mono early last week to help prepare the 10 and 10 Garden Centre for the spring season. During that time he helped save over 1,000 animals, which were mostly cats and dogs, but he also assisted with rescuing a lion, grizzly bear, foxes, and wolves from the Kiev Zoo.

  • Award winning auto dealership, Orangeville Volkswagen recently added another trophy to its shelf. The business is being recognized as sixth best out of 145 Volkswagen dealerships across Canada with the Wolfsburg Award of Excellence, which the top 20 dealerships receive each year. The award is given to dealerships that reach their regional targets in sales, service, customer retention, and customer satisfaction. 
  • Shelburne Long Term Care Home will be seeing some major upgrades soon as the province announces plans for a new facility. Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones was joined by local leaders and guests on April 8 outside of Shelburne Long Term Care Home, located at 200 Robert Street, to announce the province’s plan to provide 68 new and 60 upgraded beds at the long-term care home, owned by Southbridge Care Homes.

April 21

  • A program aimed at combatting food insecurity has recently expanded to Orangeville. FIFE4LIFE, which stands for Feed It Forward Everyone… Live in Freedom Everywhere, helps residents who can’t afford food still have a warm, freshly cooked meal as needed.
  • Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) masking requirements will remain indefinitely says the hospital’s CEO and president, Kim Delahunt. Headwaters Hospital released a public notice on April 14, addressing their decision to take a “cautious” approach in the coming months as the provincial government plans to lift mask mandates in all health care settings.
  • The Town of Orangeville is now a registered member of the Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation at a cost of $250 and will declare June 27 as Multicultural Day. Founder and president of the annual Multicultural Event and Foundation, Althea Alli delivered a presentation to Council about her organization and the Town’s registration last Monday (April 11) during a regular Council meeting.

April 28

  • Orangeville Council is directing Town staff to continue exploring the feasibility of redeveloping the second floor of the Fire Hall on Dawson Road into a crisis care bed facility. 

Council is also asking staff to explore land options throughout Orangeville for a residential Habitat for Humanity Build. The motion directing staff to carry this out, with an amendment to proceed with any necessary zoning changes, passed 7-0 at a regular Council meeting on Monday (April 25).

  • Starting on May 2, 2022, candidates can file nominations for the October 24, 2022 municipal election.
  • Ontario has extended remaining mask mandates in high-risk settings until June 11 as it manages the sixth wave of COVID-19. The provincial government announced the remaining mask mandate extension in a press release on April 22.
  • An Orangeville District Secondary School (ODSS) student has a big reason to celebrate. Out of 5,174 applications, ODSS student Jack Gillies was named one of 35 Loran Scholars for 2022 for demonstrating a firm commitment to character, service and leadership potential; breadth in academic and extra-curricular interests; integrity; and a high level of personal autonomy.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced on April 20 that construction on a broadband network in partnership with Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc. had been completed. The broadband network will connect more than 300 homes, businesses and farms in Mansfield to reliable high-speed internet.

May 5

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) marked a significant milestone in the hospital’s history on Tuesday (May 3), celebrating the 25th anniversary of its site on Rolling Hills Drive.
  • The lineup for the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival has officially been released and excitement is growing for the event’s return after a two-year hiatus.

It’s the 18th year the festival is being held, running June 3 to 5 in downtown Orangeville, and it will feature over 75 acts, across four stages. There will also be performances at local pubs, restaurants, and on the streets.

Some of the bigger names on this year’s lineup include the legendary Downchild Blues Band, Grammy Award Winner Harrison Kennedy, Maple Blues Winners Blackburn, 2022 Juno Award Nominee Miss Emily, and Juno Jazz Nominee Heather Bambrick.

  • The Dufferin Board of Trade’s Dream Big Market at Westminster Church, featuring young entrepreneurs, saw great success over the weekend. The youth market, which featured vendors as young as nine years old, was held on Saturday (April 30), and they sold a variety of handmade, recycled and upcycled products, including crocheting, jewelry, woodworking, pet treats, candles, crafts, and art. There was a total of 30 vendors and roughly 150 people turned out to support youth in the community.
  • A special piece of art that has been in the community for over 10 years was recently relocated. Project Angel Group successfully relocated and reinstalled the wooden angel carving at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Sunday, May 1.
  • The City of Brampton has announced its commitment to preserving the Orangeville Brampton Railway (OBRY) in its newly released Official Plan. The Town of Orangeville announced it sold five-acre of rail lands to Brampton on Jan. 10 for $24.25 million, after decommissioning the rail line in 2021.

The line ran from Orangeville south through Caledon, and Brampton to Streetsville where it connects with Canadian Pacific’s main line. Under Brampton’s Official Plan it says the City will protect the decommissioned rail infrastructure and advocate for the line to be incorporated into Metrolinx’s Commuter Rail Network to provide north-south public transportation.

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) will receive additional funding this fiscal year and an increase to add more patient beds, according to an announcement made by Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones on Tuesday (May 4).

In the plan to stay open, the provincial government is investing more than $6.6 million to add 13 new patient beds to HHCC. These new beds are part of a capital plan expansion with more than 50 major projects that will add 3,000 new beds over 10 years and support the continuation of over 3,100 acute and post-acute beds in hospitals and alternate health care facilities, and hundreds of new adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care beds.

May 12

  • Dufferin residents recently gathered to show their support and raise awareness around the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S). The National Day of Awareness for MMIWG2S, also known as Red Dress Day, was marked locally on May 5 with a walk and smudging ceremony at the Mino Kamik Medicine Wheel Garden in Bravery Park. 

The event was held by the Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC), and attended by local politicians, municipal representatives, heads of organizations and community members.

DCCRC chair, Debbie Egerton, who founded the organization in 2014, said more needs to be done on the issue of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people going missing or being murdered at disproportionate rates compared to non-indigenous people. The homicide rate for Indigenous women in Canada was almost six times higher than non-Indigenous women from 2001 to 2015.

  • Voting in the provincial election has started at the Orangeville Curling Club. Located at 76 Fifth Ave, the club is now accepting special ballot voting for those in the Dufferin–Caledon riding.
  • Mono Council heard from the Credit Valley Conversation (CVC) on Tuesday (May 19) about issues relating to Monora Park. A delegation to Council lead by CVC CAO Quentin Hanchard and director of watershed management, John Sinnige, shared that the existing pond at Monora Park will be drained and the dam creating it is being removed in 2023.

Studies show that the dam is in danger of collapse, and has reached the end of its useful life, while a new dam is far too expensive to build. The plan to eliminate the dam will remove the risk to public safety, remove environmental impacts such as fish passage and creek temperature, restore the stream and wetland habitat in the pond basin, and maintain the trail connectivity for recreational purposes.

The cost will be approximately $320,000 and the funding is in place now with construction expected to run from June 1 to Sept. 30, 2023.

  • The Town of Orangeville will soon be taking a new approach to transit. A motion passed 6-1 directing Town staff to implement a hybrid, fixed and on-demand bus service and re-direct 2021 capital funds to purchase two new 30-foot low-floor accessible buses and two new accessible mini-buses, during a Council meeting in late April.
  • The Ontario Greens, Liberals, and New Democrats all agree on at least one thing, and that’s cancelling the Conservatives’ proposed Highway 413.

A protest against the highway was held on Friday, May 6 at the intersection of Highway 10 and Old School Road in the south of Caledon. Green candidate Laura Campbell, Liberal candidate Bob Gordanier, and NDP candidate Tess Prendergast all attended the protest to show where their priorities lie as they campaign to become Dufferin-Caledon’s next Member of Provincial Parliament.

Caledon residents attended the protest too, as well as the leader of the Green Party of Ontario, Mike Schreiner.

May 19

  • Orangeville residents living west of Hansen Boulevard will remain disconnected to College Avenue and continue to see longer response times from emergency services.

Council voted against Town staff’s recommendation to follow the advice of a traffic study, recently conducted by engineers, regarding the impact of opening College Avenue near Hansen Boulevard, during a May 16 Council meeting. They found that doing this would provide better access to Town for residents in Veterans Way or the Parkinson residential area and the Blind Line/College Avenue intersection would continue to operate at a good level of service. Police, fire service, and paramedics were consulted on the opening of College Avenue and supported removing the barricades.

However, there was significant outreach and pushback by residents on College Avenue with respect to removing the barriers due to speeding concerns, pedestrian safety, and the safety of school children. Out of 14 letters from community members on Council’s May 16 agenda, regarding the removal of concrete barricades at College Avenue at Hansen Boulevard, four were in support while 10 were against.

  • The month of May marks Sexual Violence Prevention Month and local organizations are highlighting education and awareness to actively help the community in efforts to prevent sexual violence. On Monday (May 16), staff members from Family Transition Place and from Dufferin Child and Family Services joined Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown and Coun. Lisa Post at town hall to proclaim the month and raise a flag in recognition.
  • Maria De Sousa of Amaranth won $50,000 from her DAILY KENO 8 Pick on the April 5 midday draw. The winning ticket was purchased at Daisy Mart on Alder Street in Orangeville.
  • It didn’t take local boxer, Jake Daoust, very long to finish his fourth pro bout in Cape Breton on May 7. Daoust delivered an uppercut 44 seconds into the second round that dropped his opponent to the canvas and the middleweight fight was over.

May 26

  • Five candidates vying for the Dufferin– Caledon seat in the upcoming provincial election recently squared off at a candidates’ forum. The two-hour-long debate, held by the Dufferin Board of Trade (DBOT) on May 18, saw Sylvia Jones (Progressive Conservative), Bob Gordanier (Liberal), Tess Prendergast (NDP), Andrea Banyai (New Blue), and Laura Campbell (Green) answer questions on a variety of topics.
  • A bylaw for Orangeville’s final 2022 tax rate was approved unanimously at Orangeville Council during a regular meeting on May 16. The total increase for Orangeville’s residential taxpayers is 1.44 per cent.
  • Family Transition Place is expanding their sexual violence services with the launch of a new program, the Lotus Centre, which aims to provide a larger continuum of support for victims and survivors of sexual violence with increased counselling opportunities. Supports that the Lotus Centre offers includes; 24/7 crisis counselling; sexual violence counselling services; support for partners, family and friends of survivors; therapeutic group counselling; sexual violence peer support groups; and sexual violence education and community engagement.
  • The Town of Orangeville is calling on the provincial government to dissolve the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) Town Council unanimously approved a motion brought forward by Coun. Grant Peters, stating the OLT is one of the most significant sources of red tape for delaying the development of more attainable housing in Ontario and needs to be eliminated.

June 2

  • The Town recently recognized two groups and an individual who are making Orangeville more inclusive and accessible. During a special ceremony at Town Hall on Monday (May 30), Orangeville’s Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee chair Coun. Lisa Post and Mayor Sandy Brown handed out the 2022 Accessibility Champion Awards. The recipients this year are participants of Branching Out Support Services (BOSS), executive director of BOSS Kimberly Van Ryn, and Active Lives Canada.
  • Peel Regional Council has endorsed a report outlining the intent to finalize the acquisition of approximately 51 km of the former Orangeville-Brampton Railway corridor from the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation, for the purposes of a recreational trail and future utility corridor to help meet the needs of a growing Region.
  • The Brackett Auto Group, Orangeville’s leader in auto sales, is pleased to announce it is welcoming Orangeville Volkswagen to its line-up of dealerships in the region.

The Group already has MacMaster Buick GMC and Orangeville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram under the local automotive dealership banner. The Brackett Auto Group also operates Bray Chevrolet Buick GMC in Sundridge, and Edmonds Chevrolet Buick GMC in Huntsville. In addition, Fix Auto body shop in Orangeville is part of the group and is an expert in car body and collision repair for all types of vehicles.

  • The Lord Dufferin IODE’s 27th Annual Geranium Sale was a big success this year, raising approximately $8,000 for the local non-profit club, with over 4,300 geraniums sold.
  • Orangeville Council voted 5-2 on Monday (May 30) to reverse a decision made at their last meeting (May 16) that rejected Cachet Development’s proposal for apartment buildings by Veterans Way. Coun. Joe Andrews, who previously voted against final approvals for Cachet Developments, brought forward the motion to approve it that passed 5-2.

During the May 30 meeting, Coun. Andrews explained that he wasn’t comfortable with the development moving forward until there was assurances that the missing link of road along Hansen Blvd. would be completed before Cachet’s apartment buildings are occupied. Once constructed, Cachet’s development will house 383 apartment dwelling units. Coun. Andrews said he now supports the development since Cachet has communicated to the Town that their development won’t be occupied until a couple of years after Hansen Blvd’s missing link is built

  • Affectionately nicknamed “Duck Day,” the Grand Valley Lions hosted their duck race on May 28 at Hereward Park, welcoming hundreds of visitors to Grand Valley. Almost $20,000 in prizes was doled out to participants.
  • Orangeville councillor Lisa Post is looking to move up the ladder of municipal politics. She recently filed her nomination papers for the mayor position at Town Hall. She told the Citizen she wants to build a collective vision with the community that can be shared over the next four-year term of Council.

June 9

  • Conservative politician, Sylvia Jones is now serving her fifth consecutive term as MPP in Dufferin–Caledon. She holds one of 83 seats claimed by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative last Thursday (June 2), giving the party well over the 63 seats needed to form a majority government. Jones was re-elected with 49.7 per cent of the vote.
  • Downtown Orangeville was the busiest it’s been in more than two years from June 3 to 5 with the long-awaited return of the Blues and Jazz Festival. While the final numbers are still being tallied, president of the festival, Josh Leitch said it’s their biggest one yet, based on observations, photos, and social media posts from the three-day event.
  • The Town of Orangeville’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ed Brennan, has gone on medical leave and the Town’s General Manager of Community Services, Ray Osmond, is now the interim CAO.

June 16

  • From steel pan drumming to dancing, food and artwork the Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event made a return with a bang this past weekend. The Dufferin County Multicultural Foundation and the Museum of Dufferin (MoD) hosted the Fifth Annual Dufferin County Multicultural Day Event on June 11, celebrating the diversity within the community.
  • The numbers are in and this year’s Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival was the biggest yet. The three-day event, which ran June 3-5, saw over 40,000 attendees, representing a 10 per cent increase in attendance over 2019 when the festival was held last.
  • Dufferin–Caledon MP Kyle Seeback has changed the candidate he’s supporting in the Conservative Leadership Race. Seeback had initially backed Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who joined the Conservative Party in 2006 as a Member of Parliament, as the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, but announced last week his support has changed to Pierre Poilievre.
  • Food banks and programs in Dufferin County are getting a massive boost in funding. The 9th Annual Compass Run for Food, held by the Compass Community Church on Saturday (June 11) exceeded its goal of $75,000, which will go a long way in combatting food insecurity locally. After two years without an in-person event, it was great to see hundreds of people unite under a common goal of ensuring people in Dufferin County don’t go hungry, said event organizer David Marshall.
  • Linda Banks gets recognized as Orangeville’s 2022 Senior of the Year.
  • Some Caledon residents and Orangeville councillor Lisa Post are expressing dismay that a mural celebrating the contributions of Post’s grandfather, Alex Raeburn, has been painted over at Caledon Central Public School. 

Raeburn (1912-2012) was a fourth-generation resident of Caledon Village and involved in many projects in the community. He served on the local school board, was a charter member of Caledon Town Council and Peel Regional Council, and served two terms on the Niagara Escarpment Commission, among other community involvements. Perhaps most relevant to this story is the big part he played in getting Caledon Central Public School built.

According to Peel District School Board trustee Stan Cameron, just before 10 a.m. on June 3 he received a call from Caledon Central’s principal letting him know the mural of Raeburn — located in the library at Caledon Central that’s named after him — had been painted over. Cameron said in the call, he asked why it was painted over and never got a solid reason. He also asked what the plan for the wall was now that it’s a blank slate again, and the response was that there wasn’t a definitive plan yet.

  • Headwaters Health Care Centre president and CEO, Kim Delahunt released the following statement last Friday (June 10) regarding the hospital’s decision to maintain mask requirements after the mandate expired last Saturday (June 11).

June 23

  • An in-person celebration of all backgrounds, ages, religions and sexual orientations returned to Mill Street on Saturday (June 18) for Celebrate Your Awesome’s annual Pride and Diversity Day. It’s the first time in two years a celebration’s been held at Mill Street, with the annual event being marked virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. This year’s turnout was fantastic, surpassing attendance numbers from 2018 and 2019. 
  • Roughly 3,000 to 4,000 people filled out the stands at the Orangeville Fairgrounds on June 18 and 19, as they enjoyed a variety of competitions, including bull riding, barrel racing, bucking horse, steer riding and pole bending for Ram Rodeo. But the two-day event wasn’t just for entertainment, the event also generated around $10,000, split between Tuff Therapeutic Riding in Mono and the 85 Tornado Squadron Air Cadets of Grand Valley.
  • Headwater’s Health Care Centre (HHCC) honoured two award recipients for their commitment to service at the local hospital during their Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday (June 21). HHCC Board of Directors vice chair, Shelley Scriver presented the 23rd annual Dr. David Scott Award to the laboratory team at Headwaters for their service during the pandemic processing swabs for COVID-19.
  • Orangeville Council recently approved the site and floor plan for its nearly 30,000 sq. ft fire station that’s being built at the corner of Commerce and Centennial Road.

In a unanimous vote on June 13, Council also directed Town staff to prepare an application for capital funding in the amount of $5 million from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund Program to design the new fire station to net zero standards. As well, Council directed staff to include $5 million in additional funds for the fire station project for their 2023-24 capital budget.

The expected completion date of the fire station is the spring of 2024, with an 18-month construction timeline.

  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health has reported the first case of monkeypox in the region. In a press release issued on June 16, the local health unit said they had received confirmation of the first local case of the virus, and that the affected individual is a male aged 20 to 30 who lives in Guelph.

June 30

  • Parking on both sides of the street will soon be a thing of the past for many roadways currently allowing it in Orangeville. Council unanimously approved a motion that restricts parking to one side of the street during a meeting on Monday (June 27).

Streets that currently do not allow parking on either side or are already restricted to one side won’t be impacted. Same with streets that have parking stalls.

  • Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones has been appointed as Ontario’s newest Health Minister. Premier Doug Ford unveiled his 30-person cabinet last Friday (June 24) during his swearing-in ceremony at Queen’s Park as the 26th premier of the province. Jones is taking over the role of minister of health from Christine Elliott, who did not seek re-election. Jones was also named deputy premier.

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