Important Information for All

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Although you’d never know it by looking outside, Christmas is almost here. It’s been a great year for the OLRA. We introduced several new events this year, beginning the summer with a bottle drive that helped to fund other initiatives that followed. The perennial exchange offered residents a way to spruce up the garden. Most popular by far was the community garage sale we organized in June. Jay Jensen and Samien Bell won with their entries in the first annual OLRA pumpkin contest. Traditional events were well received too. As always, the picnic was a day of tremendous fun, and except for a mad scramble to escape rain and high winds at the very end the weather was on our side. At the AGM we had a great variety of speakers to offer insight into topics such as septic re-inspections, healthy waters, and grants for shoreline and septic projects. We look forward to increased participation during the next season.

As our thoughts turn to giving during the holidays, we’d like to offer a few more goodies and fun ideas to our friends and neighbours.

Food is an integral and much loved part of the Christmas season. We all have those traditional favourites that we enjoy only at this time of year. At our house, the festivities last until Orthodox Christmas when, in honour of my hubby’s heritage, we share traditional Ukrainian foods such as borscht, cabbage rolls, and perogies with friends and family. Why not celebrate the future with a taste of the past? Reach back to your roots and serve up a new old dish. Send us your traditional holiday recipes and, if we receive enough, we’ll put together a booklet and have copies available at next year’s events.

Looking for ways to spend the day without technology this year? Decorate a family member as a Christmas tree. If we actually see snow by then, have a snowball throwing contest. Before the big day, print off a Christmas movie trivia quiz. A few years ago, my cousin and I raced to see who could finish dessert first – without utensils. You can offer prizes, or just do it for the fun of it.

What would Christmas be without reaching out to friends and family near and far? Take advantage of our Facebook page by joining and posting your best wishes to your neighbours. And while you’re online, check out our new Pinterest account. If you’d like to be able to add pins to our boards, send us an email and we’ll set you up.

As Linus advised Charlie Brown, presents and pageantry are not what Christmas is all about. Still, it’s a time of year when we’re extra conscious of value for our dollar. OLRA membership is still just $10 for the year, and includes admission to both the annual picnic and general meeting, plus exclusive emails all year for members only. Take advantage of our holiday bonus by buying your 2016 membership via the PayPal link at the top of this page before January 1st and we’ll deliver a free OLRA t-shirt to your home or cottage door next summer. Please indicate your preferred size when you note your Orr Lake address during the enrollment process.

We are grateful to those who, in ways both large and small, have made our progress this year possible. It is in this spirit that we say thank you and best wishes for the holidays and happy New Year. To all of our Orr Lake neighbours, may you find time during this hectic season to enjoy life's simple blessings and the beauty of each quiet moment.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Contest and Creativity

Despite threats of strikes all summer, and not even a tentative deal for elementary teachers as yet, the school bell has rung and classes are back in session. Some students bounded through the doors happy to be back, and others had to be physically dragged out of bed on that first day. As a kid, I was part of that latter group. It wasn’t that I disliked learning – I just wanted to learn what I wanted, how and when I wanted to. The curriculum didn’t make concessions for my whims. Now that I’m all grown up, I still like to learn new things and I get to pick and choose now. Most adults do enjoy expanding their horizons so, in honour of the first week of school, we’ve compiled a few lesson plans of our own. Read on to find out what your fall classes have to offer.

Math – Those of you who watch Jimmy Fallon may have seen this one on The Tonight Show. We don’t get many trick or treaters in Orr Lake, but you can still get into the spirit with a pumpkin time bomb. Just get a pumpkin and some rubber bands (all bands the same size). Wrap the bands around the pumpkin and track the number of bands it takes to make it explode. You may be wondering how this is particularly pertinent to our little hamlet. Actually, it’s not but there’s a math teacher at John McGregor Secondary School in Chatham who turned it into a math lesson and even created a Google Form that will collect data from people around the globe trying the experiment. His name? Jon Orr. To learn more about this project go to For more ideas, visit his website:

Art – If blowing pumpkins up isn’t your thing, get your creative juices flowing and enter our pumpkin art contest, open to anyone who has purchased a 2015 or 2016 membership – cottagers and permanent residents alike. Carve them, paint them, stack them, arrange them to re-enact the Battle of the Plains of Abraham – whatever medium or form you like. Don’t worry if, like me, you aren’t terribly talented in the arts department. We’re offering one prize in each of two categories. The first is artistic merit and the second is creative invention (where the idea counts more than the execution). Just take a photo of your creation and email it to us by October 30th along with your name, address and preferred contact information. The winning photos and short interviews with the creative geniuses will be featured in an upcoming article right here in this column.

Phys Ed – Did you know that Orr Lake Golf Club has a 3 Hole Par 3 Course called the Orr Lake Learning Links? This initiative increases the opportunity for kids, families and beginners to try out the game of golf. The 3 holes are 51, 98 and 48 yards and, instead of the usual 4 inch putting cups, include 8 inch cups making it easier for beginners. The Learning Links costs $5 per person and includes a chipping club, putter and 3 balls.

Language – This course involves a bit of shameless self-promotion. Orr Lake is home to a member of local writing group, Wye Write. That would be yours truly. The group has just published our fourth collection of short stories and will be touring the area presenting The Stories Behind the Stories. Keep an eye out for posters around town, and be sure to read the Springwater News cover to cover so you don’t miss the next event. To order a copy of the new book, just send off a quick email to If you do attend an event, please be sure to let us know you heard about it here.

Music – Here’s one you can do when you’re outside relaxing or getting in those last few boating outings during these last warm days. Match a song to how you feel when you’re cruising the water or just sitting back watching the waves. Send us your titles and the name of the artist. If we get enough submissions, perhaps we can put together a playlist that can be burned to discs for everyone who submits a song to enjoy.

Science / Social Studies – Before old man winter gets a grip on the land, find one thing that you can do today to make the lake more sustainable or be kind to our wildlife. Clean up a patch of the road or plant a naturalized shoreline. When you fertilize or treat for weeds and pests, use natural products. Build a bat house, plant milkweed or get the suet feeder ready for the cold months. Let us know what you accomplish – you can even send us photos to post on the blog.

If you’ve considered all these possibilities, and still find yourself wanting to burrow back under the covers, take heart. If the folks from the Farmer’s Almanac know what they’re doing there are plenty of snow days in the not too distant future when you’ll be able to do just that!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Historical Sign

A local project spearheaded by the Oro-Medonte History Association which celebrates the historic communities along Penetanguishene Road has resulted in the placement of a sign that will raise awareness of the history of Orr Lake. The history of other communities along the road is preserved in the same way, from Kempenfelt Village to Wyebridge. The project was funded by a Trillium grant and undertaken by the local Women’s Institutes with the support of the Springwater Heritage Committee and Council, and the County of Simcoe, as well as other municipalites and organizations. An experienced core committee dealt with design, research, editing and co-ordination.

Highway 93, which winds its way northward from Barrie to Georgian Bay, along the eastern end of Orr Lake, is the second oldest road in the province. It was originally the old military trail to Penetanguishene, with the old Hamilton Inn near Orr Lake Forest Headquarters being one of the many stopover points along the trail for weary travellers. The lake itself provided a measure of relaxation and cooling on hot summer days.

While Orr Lake did not evolve as a village, like Hillsdale or Waverley, the lots along the road were settled early, and a community grew in association with the mills and the road. Hence, a sign was created in recognition of Orr Lake’s contribution to the early history of the area. It has been placed on the Old Survey Penetanguishene Road (South Orr Lake Rd) inside the community park. A fitting location, since it marks the only deviation that the original surveyor, Samuel Wilmot, conceded to the terrain in 1811.

An ad hoc member of the committee, Peter McEwen, undertook the task of the Orr Lake sign on the strength of a long standing connection. His grandfather, Alfred Benham, purchased waterfront here in the 1920s and became an early cottager and builder. In addition, he spent his childhood and adolescent summers at the lake and has relatives who remain on original lots.

Be sure to stop by the park to take a look at the new sign. An official celebration of the project will take place toward the end of September. Representation from the OLRA is welcome. Details to follow.

In 1987, Elsie F. Thomas wrote a publication entitled Recollections. The focus of this little booklet was to record the story of the Orr Lake Ratepayers Association from its inception in August of 1954 up to 1986. It includes a preface that details the early history of the area, and first years of the development of the Orr Lake community. Copies were made, and many of the older cottages may still have one tucked away in a drawer or on a bookshelf. Past president Ruth Woodcock expressed interest in updating the story to the present day and the current executive would love to assist with that endeavour. While we have plenty of records from which to draw facts and events of the last thirty years, we would also like to include a section on various families with longstanding ties to Orr Lake and the Association. Please contact us with your personal stories for consideration. It’s a wonderful way to leave your mark for future generations.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

If You Only Read One Post, Make it This One!

While there’s still lots of summer left to enjoy, the OLRA recently wrapped up the 2014-15 season with our annual picnic and general meeting.  Despite dire forecasts the entire week before the picnic, we enjoyed great weather until the very last minute when the wind threatened to wreak havoc on the raffle draw.  Thanks to all who rushed to snatch up bags and loot so the terrific selection of prizes could find their way to lucky winners.

As always, Susan Eccleshall and Jack Beyfuss did a wonderful job of organizing an event that has long been a summer tradition for many Orr Lake families.  To some of those families - the Moffitts, Bluesteins, Gibbs, and Eccleshalls - we owe our sincere thanks for donations of prizes for the raffle and races.   We are also indebted to local businesses that sponsored the event.  Please be sure to reward their generosity with your patronage.  These include Classique Dimensions Family Hair Care, Coffee Time, Darlene’s Hair Design, G&S Computers, Jacks on Queen, Pieces of Olde, Settler’s Ghost, TAG Painting, The Corner Cut Salon & Spa, The Gift Shoppe, and Dr. Logicks Ultrafast Wireless.  A special thank you to Joe and family, who live next door to the park and kindly donated the hydro required to power our sound system.

We are able to share the big-heartedness of all these great donors only with the help of a hardworking team of volunteers.  We would be well and truly lost without their contributions of time and effort.  A well-deserved pat on the back to Rita and Karen Moffitt, the extended Eccleshall family, Charlie DiGaudio, Ernest Stefaniuk, Tiffany Young, Tom Deas, and “Ms. Eccleshall’s kids”:  Delaney, Colby, Monika, Diana, Gio, and Carlee.  The success of this year’s picnic is a credit to you all!

There were two faces missing among the volunteers this year.  Although Ted and Ruth Woodcock have given up their places on the executive after many years of service, they did intend to be on hand.  As some of you may know, Ted’s ticker decided a change of this and other plans was in order and he underwent surgery earlier this summer.  We are happy to say that, although he isn’t quite up to his usual mischievous self as yet, he is well on the way to a full recovery.  Many noted their absence, and we have passed along your concern and best wishes.

If you missed this year’s picnic, just remember that it is always held on the Sunday of the August long weekend.  Residents and cottagers alike often host family and friends at this time, and the picnic is a great way to let us help you entertain.

At this year’s AGM we had a great variety of speakers to offer insight into topics such as septic re-inspections, healthy waters, and grants for shoreline and septic projects.  Springwater Township was well represented, and residents appreciated the opportunity to direct their questions to Mayor Bill French, Councillor Perry Ritchie, and Junior Building Inspector Jacob Gooch.  Thanks to Shannon Stephens of the NVCA for her workshop on the Healthy Waters Program as well as her organization of our roster of guests.  Keith Sherman represented the SSEA and also offered insight that would normally be provided by our Lake Steward, as we currently lack a volunteer for that position.  Also on hand were John Osmok and Greg Bales of the Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay Community Stewardship Program to discuss funding opportunites for property owners.  Those who have paid either the 2014-15 or 2015-16 membership fee will receive a copy of the meeting minutes.  The minutes offer details regarding Township plans and scheduling for septic re-inspections, and funding sources for work that may be subsequently necessary. This will be of value to anyone owning a lakeshore property.  If you would like to benefit from this information, you may purchase your membership online at or arrange payment by calling/texting 905-716-2571.

One issue that we can, and indeed must, share with you regardless of membership standing involves the status of our Association.  For the last three years, we have been unable to fill executive positions.  For the last year, we have operated with only two active executive members.  Events held during the past season were only possible due to an excess of funds gleaned in previous years.  At the AGM only two of seven possible nominations were accepted to serve on the executive. Thank you to new Orr Lake residents Nick Heintz and Sonia Kadela for joining us. The most crucial role to be filled at this time is that of Membership Coordinator.  Without an increase in membership, we will not have the resources to be active in the coming season.  The primary responsibility of the coordinator is to enlist and organize volunteers who will undertake door to door canvassing.  We do have some volunteers waiting only for guidance, and will help to find more.  Secondary is the maintenance of membership records.  It does require a block of dedicated time, but only minimal part-time hours for one or two months of the year. This would be an ideal position for someone who is well organized, with a large acquaintance of folks in Orr Lake.  Many hands really do make light work.  If you would like to volunteer, either to canvass or to act as Coordinator, please contact us.

On the surface, this sounds much like the same appeal we make every year.  Please believe that the situation is serious, and the very existence of the Association is at risk.  Allow me to break away from my voice as Chair of the OLRA and speak to you as an Orr Lake resident, and as a human being with a deep-seated respect for the past that makes our present possible.  The OLRA is more than just a guardian of the lake and the voice of its members, more than just a communicator with the Township and environmental associations.  Right now, in my basement, are over sixty years of records.  There are names in those old papers of families that still own lake properties and those that have faded away.  There are reports that detail the changes and the growth of our hamlet, our home.  Most importantly, in between all the facts and figures, tucked away unseen among the statistics and particulars, are the memories.  Since joining the executive several years ago, I have been touched time and again by the stories members tell – and the only reason I hear them is because the OLRA exists.  If we let the Association wither away, we lose not only a collective voice, not only our identity as a community, but also a place to preserve our common history.  We lose a piece of ourselves.  Please help us to prevent such an unnecessary tragedy.  Contact us now, and offer to give just a little.  

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Springwater Strategic Plan

Springwater Council is planning for the future by initiating a strategic review and is seeking resident input to help guide the direction of the plan.

Strategic planning is a process that involves learning, observing and dialogue. It is an exercise in self-reflection and will articulate our vision for the future. Through strategic planning the Township will determine priorities for the next four years and develop the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan. The Plan will outline what the municipality intends to accomplish, contain key initiative and action plans that may focus on areas such as community development, service delivery and leadership.

Strategic plans are dynamic documents that are continually edited and updated as the Municipality changes and evolves. Springwater’s last strategic plan was developed in 2010 and updated as part of a mid-point review in 2012. The new Strategic Plan will provide Council and staff with guidance, direction and priorities, and will serve as a roadmap to success.

Community Engagement

The Township is taking a community-based strategic planning approach and will be collecting input from residents during the process to derive a sense of priorities held by the citizens as well as Council and staff. Your input will help to:

Gauge satisfaction with services, facilities and communications over time;
Identify and address priorities, needs and issues that most influence perceptions of the Township of Springwater and quality of life in the community we live in;
Provide insights to help build our strategies and plans;
To help Council and the Administration allocate resources and align service delivery option to meet community needs, and;
To help Council and the Administration establish performance baselines and targets.
A survey has been developed by the consultants to collect your feedback. Fill out the survey online here or obtain a hard copy at the Township Administration Centre or any of the three Springwater Library Branches.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Fraudulent Solicitation

Springwater Township / July 29, 2015 – A number of Springwater residents have recently received phone calls from an individual soliciting donations for a children’s charity and claiming to represent Springwater Fire & Emergency Services.

Springwater Fire & Emergency Services does not fundraise through door-to-door efforts or telephone solicitation. When conducting routine inspections or public outreach, representatives of Springwater Fire & Emergency Services carry proper identification and dress in uniform.

If you have been contacted by someone claiming to represent Springwater Fire & Emergency Services and been asked to donate, please report the incident to the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Picnic Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that tomorrow is our annual picnic.  Hopefully the weather reports will be as dead wrong for tomorrow as they were today.

We have a lot of fun lined up for the whole family - races, nail drive, horseshoe and hula hoop competitions. Don't miss your chance to win some great prizes in the raffle or a pocketful of cash in the 50/50 draw, Take home an Orr Lake t-shirt to commemorate the day.  To keep you fuelled up, we'll have burgers and hot dogs on the BBQ and coolers full of refreshing drinks. Finally, don't forget the boat decoration and lip sync contests - show our community how you strut your stuff!

Hope to see you all at the park (2390 South Orr Lake Road) at noon tomorrow!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Picnic and AGM

It’s almost time for another day of tradition and memory making at the OLRA Annual Picnic.  Join us Sunday, August 2, 12:00 noon at Orr Lake Park for an afternoon to remember as you meet or reunite with neighbours and friends. Games and races provide fun for all ages, as well as scrapbook-worthy medals and ribbons, and great prizes too.  We'll have the BBQ fired up and coolers stocked with refreshments at ridiculously reasonable prices.  All OLRA members and their families are invited.  Annual memberships will be available for the low cost of $10 per household, so if you haven't purchased yours yet don't miss this opportunity to enjoy the day, and reap all the year-long benefits too!

Get creative this week and enter the boat decorating contest.  The theme this year is pirate ships, so break out the Jolly Roger and give it your all.  Or perhaps your artistic talents lean more toward the musical.  Put on your dancing shoes and enter the lip sync contest instead. 

The following weekend, be sure to attend our Annual General Meeting at Orr Lake Golf Club Sunday, August at 1:00 pm.  It’s your chance to hear what the OLRA has done for you during the year, and to voice your concerns. There are several executive positions up for election this year, and we are in desperate need of reliable, conscientious people to fill those roles.  Please consider throwing your hat into the ring, or nominating someone that you believe would serve our community fairly and objectively.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can still volunteer by contacting us at  We realize that we ask for help each year, but it is especially important this year. Without this kind of assistance, it is unlikely that there will be enough resources for the OLRA to continue to be active in the coming year.  We look forward to seeing you there.

We hope that you have been enjoying this beautiful summer, and spend the rest of it safely as you vacation and visit with family and friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lake Monitoring

The focus of this post is lake monitoring but before we continue along that vein we’d like to take a moment to remind you of the upcoming picnic on August 2 at noon, as well as the AGM on August 9 at 1:00, Orr Lake Golf Club.  If you plan to enter the boat decoration contest, now is the time to start collecting your pirate-y embellishments!  Ditto for working on your choreography for the lip sync contest.   We would also like to offer our thanks to the Bluesteins and Moffitts for their recent donation of prizes to be awarded at the picnic.  Anyone else who wishes to donate new goods or volunteer to assist with races and competitions may contact Susan Eccleshall at 705-725-4120, or email us at

Orr Lake has been subject to ongoing health monitoring since 2002 through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) Lake Partner Program.  Under this program a dedicated lake resident collects total phosphorus samples and measures water clarity using a Secchi disk to document changes in lake health over time.  The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority has been measuring winter dissolved oxygen (DO) profiles in Orr Lake since 2010.  A late-winter oxygen profile can be viewed as a barometer of winter length, lake nutrient status and potential stress on lake ecosystems.

Total phosphorus (TP) is an important nutrient in water as it is often the “limiting” factor controlling the growth of plants and algae. Phosphorus levels in water can occur naturally in very low through to very high concentrations, though low to moderate levels are more common.  Problematic levels of phosphorus occur when these natural levels are enriched by human inputs which may lead to excessive plant and algae growth. This excessive growth can cause problems such as restricted recreational uses and aesthetic concerns, as well as oxygen depletion resulting in fish kills.

Orr Lake is a mesotrophic lake suggesting its nutrient levels would naturally be elevated when compared to the nutrient-poor (oligotrophic) lakes of the Canadian Shield.  Phosphorus concentrations in a densely populated lake like Orr Lake will increase from septic systems, lawn maintenance (fertilizers, pesticides), and soaps that drain into the lake.  Phosphorus levels can be reduced by plant uptake and binding to lake sediments - maintaining natural shorelines is a key tool to offset potential phosphorus impacts.  The MOECC Provincial Water Quality Objective for phosphorus in lakes is 0.02 mg/L.  Orr Lake has consistently been below the standard.  2014 results show the first occurrence where phosphorus levels exceed the Provincial standard (0.024 mg/L in one sample).  Further monitoring is needed in order to determine if this elevated level is part of a trend or merely a one-time occurrence.

Secchi depth is measured with a Secchi disk, a circular plate with a rope through the middle which is divided into quarters bearing black and white coloured sections.  The disk is lowered into water until it is no long visible and a measurement is taken at this point.  High readings indicate that the water is relatively clear and not turbid, whereas lower readings indicate turbid or coloured water.  In general, turbidity and the presence of colour (algae) are indicative of high lake productivity and clearer water is indicative of lower lake productivity.  The Secchi disk reading for 2014 was not provided by the MOECC.

Dissolved oxygen is referred to as the amount of free oxygen dissolved in the water.  It is required in water to allow fish, insects and other aquatic life to breath and survive.  Tolerant warm water game fish can live comfortably in waters with DO concentrations above 3 mg/L, becoming stressed and perishing at levels below 3 mg/L.  During the summer dissolved oxygen is created by aquatic plants releasing oxygen into the water using photosynthesis, as well as wave-action which physically mixes atmospheric oxygen into water.  As the fall and winter approach, these plants die, start to decompose and deplete the dissolved oxygen levels in the water column.  Persistent ice cover during the winter prevents the addition of dissolved oxygen. Monitoring late-winter oxygen levels over time is important to identify potential stresses to the lake ecosystem and associated long-term trends.

The NVCA has been measuring late-winter DO since 2010 on Orr Lake.  Despite it being one of the coldest winters on record, 2014 results mirror previous years with an oxygen sag starting around 2m depth, stressful conditions begin around 2.25m and near anoxia deeper than 2.5m.  The NVCA did not anticipate any significant fish-kill this spring.

For more info, contact Ian Ockenden of the NVCA by phone at (705) 424-1479 x234 or email

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Welcome Summer!

Mother Nature held back the rain long enough for many Orr Lake residents to market their wares in Saturday’s community garage sale.  By all accounts, it was a successful day for all.  Even at the end of North Orr Lake Road traffic was fairly steady, and we met many interesting people throughout the day.  Thanks to all who participated.

Unfortunately, we must cancel the golf tournament previously scheduled for Saturday, July 4, due to a lack of registrations.  Thanks to Jason Harris at OLGC for his willingness to accommodate us.  If there is another sports or entertainment event that would be of more interest, please let us know. 

At the end of the school year, there are often grads who realize that they are a few hours short of fulfilling their community service hours, or those just entering high school who want to get a head start on accumulating theirs.  We can help with that!  The OLRA is in need of volunteers to assist with our membership drive.  Students need not be Orr Lake residents to obtain hours, nor are we limiting ourselves to youth volunteers.  We are glad to have assistance from anyone who is willing to share an hour or two of time.  Funds raised through membership sales are used to finance the annual picnic, as well as other events held throughout the summer.  Please contact us via email at, or call/text 905-716-2571.

If July flies by as quickly as June has it will be time for the picnic before we know it.  Plan to attend – call the extended family now and invite them out for a day of food, fun, and prizes.  Solicit their help in decorating your boat with a pirate theme to enter our contest.  Mark August 2 at noon on your calendar and, while you’re at it, take note of August 9 as well.  Join us that day at Orr Lake Golf Club at 1:00 pm for our annual general meeting. We have loads of guests lined up with useful information on a variety of subjects. 

Remember to keep an extra vigilant eye now that the kids are out of school, and enjoy all the fun in the fresh outdoors the season has to offer! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Garage Sale and Golf Tourney

The gardens are in, spring cleaning is behind us, and the kids are ready to burst out the doors on the last day of school.  It’s the perfect time to gather up items you can no longer use and earn some extra cash by taking part in the Orr Lake Community Garage Sale.  On Saturday, June 27 just set up in your own driveway between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm and let the OLRA do the advertising.  At the end of your sale, if you prefer not to tote everything inside again, why not donate your unsold items to the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children for their garage sale in August?

Let us know if you plan to participate so that we can better publicize on your behalf.  Provide your address via email to, text 905-716-2571, or call 705-322-7568.  To arrange pick-up of your leftover items, call or text 705-725-4120 or email the above address.

Once you’ve decided to hold your sale, follow these tips to make it successful.

Start gathering the week before the sale.  If you leave it until the last minute, you’ll be far too rushed to make sure you have the time to earn top dollar.  Ask friends and family members to join you with their things if you feel you don’t have enough items to draw customers.

To make your sale as organized and as appealing as possible, group like objects together (glassware/kitchen items in one place; toys/children's books in another; and tools/lawn equipment in still another, for example).  Hang up items for maximum visibility and so people can go through "your racks," just like they do at the store. 

Place large items near the street to grab attention and, if possible, include items that will appeal to both men and women.  Once you’ve drawn customers in, keep them interested. If you’re selling dishes, set a small table with flowers and a cloth.  Create a reading nook for browsing books.  Offer muffins and coffee, or cold drinks on a hot day. 

Make sure items are clearly priced.  Nothing turns shoppers off quicker than having to ask a price for every item they pick up. Always mark chipped or cracked items "as is" so buyers know the price is for the item, flaws and all. Whatever the condition of the items, make sure they look their best—press the linens, wash and wipe dry glasses and china, etc.

Be ready to haggle.  Your browsers aren't looking to spend a fortune at your sale. Be ready to negotiate by pricing items slightly higher to leave room for price-haggling. When you set prices, factor in price breaks of about 20 percent to 30 percent off the price you'd like to receive.  Have plenty of change on hand in a safe location, and provide boxes or bags to pack sold items.

Offer freebies.  Pick out a bunch of things that you never want to see again and place them in a box that says 'free’.  This way shoppers and browsers alike can pick out what they want from the box and everyone wins. Place this free box near the curb so passersby will be more inclined to see what else you have for sale.

Once you’ve cleared some clutter and earned some cash, why not spend it on a day of fun and prizes by reserving a spot in the upcoming OLRA Golf Tournament taking place at Orr Lake Golf Club on July 4th?  For OLRA members the cost is just $38 for nine holes, $48 for non-members.  Enter individually or recruit a team.  Call or text Susan Eccleshall at 705-725-4120 to reserve a spot. 

We are still looking for volunteers to help with canvassing for memberships, and for the Annual Picnic in July.  Contact us using any of the options mentioned in this article to offer a bit of your time.  We do provide community hours for students, so let your kids and grandchildren know how to reach us as well. 

We hope you are all looking forward to the break from routine that the summer holidays provide and wish you a safe and happy season.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Funding Opportunity

With septic re-inspections to commence this year, we want to pass along some very promising information about funding opportunites.  If you have reason to believe that you will be required to upgrade your septic system, this will be of interest.  Representatives of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority will be sharing their knowledge of grants at this year’s OLRA  Annual General Meeting.  Meanwhile, Nick Ippolito, Springwater Township’s Manager of Building Services, has informed us of funding that may be available  through The Lake Simcoe & Georgian Bay Community Stewardship Program (LSGBCSP). This avenue also provides funding for shoreline projects which is an ongoing concern of our association.

The information below, along with a general funding chart that indicates rates and caps for various eligible projects may be found online by visiting the following link:

The LSGBCSP will undertake best management oriented projects that enhance water quality, fisheries habitat, and contribute to other ecological and environmental improvements throughout the Lake Simcoe and southeast Georgian Bay programming areas.  Project development, design and implementation will be facilitated through targeted, landowner-based, stewardship workshops that utilize an environmental self-evaluation guide approach that assists participants in identifying and addressing environmental issues associated with their land use practices and properties. Project landowners will receive technical & information assistance in completing personalized stewardship plans and financial assistance, staff and partner support in implementing priority projects that clearly address the goals associated with the Lake Simcoe & southeast Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund.

Projects implemented will include replacement of failed septic systems, lakeshore and stream shoreline restorations, riparian planting, naturalization, and buffer enhancements,
in-stream fisheries and aquatic improvements, coastal and riparian wetland enhancements, and initiatives that reduce dredging activities on Georgian Bay. The program will also implement and support priority agricultural best management oriented projects within the Nottawasaga and Severn Sound watersheds including livestock exclusion initiatives, nutrient run-off diversions, and other projects that contribute to improved aquatic eco-system health. This new program represents a broad collaboration of resource agencies, non-government organizations and community partners, including the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The LSGBCSP was established in recognition of the growing pressures that Lake Simcoe & Georgian Bay watersheds are facing with respect to ecological health and water quality
issues. The program encourages landowners to engage in stewardship activities that will
improve the overall health of their watershed. Access to program support is initiated through workshop attendance and the completion of an individualized environmental action plan that is contained within a Lake Simcoe or Georgian Bay Stewardship Guide (free). Once the guide and action plan have been completed, you will be eligible to apply for funding for your shore works and potentially for other environmentally beneficial works on your property.

In order to receive LSGBCSP funding for your shoreline works, the shoreline design must be an appropriately constructed, fish habitat-friendly approach (ie. rounded granite boulders, bioengineering techniques, etc). Projects that incorporate a naturalized vegetative buffer of at least 3m (approx 10 feet) incorporating native species into their design will be eligible for higher incentive funding assistance than projects that do not include a vegetative buffer.  The buffer area could include native trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and can be designed to facilitate lake vistas and access features.

You will also be required to produce documents demonstrating that all necessary permits
have been obtained, submit a copy of the official final invoice for the shoreline works, and fill out an application form.

Your participation will help ensure that Lake Simcoe & Georgian Bay watersheds will be a sustainable resource for future generations. To find out when a workshop is scheduled to occur in your area, to obtain more information about the program or to discuss funding opportunities, please contact Carrie McIntyre, Stewardship Extension Technician, at 705-725-7523 or email

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bottle Drive

Just a reminder that we are holding our bottle drive this Sunday, May 31 in support of community events planned for the duration of the season.  Beer and liquor empties may be dropped at the park entrance on South Orr Lake Rd between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon only.  Alternatively, you may leave them at the end of your driveway for pick-up if your property is within Orr Lake boundaries.

We appreciate your support, and look forward to your participation in the summer fun your contribution will help to provide.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coming Events

We hope that everyone enjoyed the summer kick-off weekend known as May 2-4, and the Orr Lake Ratepayers have planned a season packed full of events to help keep the ball rolling.  We welcome our neighbours in Elmvale and Hillsdale to join us for any or all of the events coming up. Invite family and friends, and mark these dates on your calendar now:

Sunday, May 31, 10 AM to noon - Bottle Drive.  Drop off empties in support of community events at the park on South Orr Lake Rd or, if you live within the borders of the Orr Lake community, leave them at the end of your driveway on Saturday evening for pick-up.

Saturday, June 13, 9 to 11 AM - Perennial Exchange.  Meet us at the park on South Orr Lake Rd with whatever you have too much of and pick up something new.

Saturday, June 27, 8 AM to 2 PM - Community Garage Sale.  Just display your items in your own Orr Lake driveway and we’ll take care of the advertising at roadsides and in area papers.  Don't want to deal with leftover items?  Donate them, or your proceeds, to the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children for their garage sale in August.  Call or text 905-716-2571 or email to arrange pick-up.

Saturday, July 4, 9 AM - Golf Tournament.  Come on out to beautiful Orr Lake Golf Club for fun and prizes.  Only 72 spots available. $38 per person including cart for OLRA members, $48 for non-members.

Sunday August 2, noon to 3PM - OLRA Picnic.  Admission is free to OLRA members (includes extended families), or $10/family for non-members.  This year, in addition to races & contests with prizes for all ages, and BBQ treats at low prices we invite you to decorate your boat with a movie theme and cruise by for your chance to win.  Also new this year is a lip sync contest, open to individuals or groups of all ages. Contact Susan Eccleshall at 705-725-4120 to volunteer time, or prizes for raffles & events, and don’t forget to bring your Young Naturalist booklets (see below).  

Sunday, August 9, 1 PM – Annual General Meeting.  Topics at this year’s AGM will include healthy shorelines and septic re-inspections, with presentations from many of our partners and associates.  This is your opportunity to volunteer your time, which is desperately needed, and voice your concerns.  We hope to see you all at Orr Lake Golf Club for this important meeting.

Young Naturalist Program.  Geared toward children aged 9 and under, this program provides seven booklets of fun and educational activities covering the topics of  wetlands, mammals, birds, herptiles (amphibians and reptiles), insects, plants, and fish. Collect and complete all seven, then bring all the booklets to the annual picnic to receive a Young Naturalist Certificate.  If this program is well received, we will create a Junior Naturalist program for older kids. Check the board at the park approximately every two weeks for a new booklet. On the board, we also have an "I spotted a _____" clipboard. Write down all of the animals you have seen.  In conjunction with this program, have your kids enter our photo contest.  They can snap shots in three different categories - landscape, summer fun and wildlife.  Email digital copies of photos to  A prize will be awarded to the winners of each category.

We welcome volunteers for membership drive, clean-up, and picnic.  We are also looking for a volunteer naturalist and artist, and if we are able to enlist the volunteered help of local musicians we would love to host a musical event. Contact us via phone or text to 905-716-2571, 705-725-4120 or email 

July is a busy month for our handful of volunteers but we’re trying to arrange another event or two so check this column regularly and also visit our blog at   If you scroll down, you’ll find a link on the right that will allow you to have interesting and important updates delivered right to your email inbox.  Meanwhile, be safe and happy as you enjoy our lake this season!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring Clean-up and Newsletter

Our annual Spring Clean-up will be held on Saturday, May 16 from 9:00 am to noon.  You can find us at the park on South Orr Lake Road, or at the top of North Orr Lake Road near the mailboxes.  Gloves and garbage bags will be provided.  We will also be selling 2015 memberships at both locations.

The 2015 OLRA newsletter is now available with your paid membership.  This year's edition includes an update on our attempt to change garbage collection day for lakeshore properties and a form you may need for the upcoming septic re-inspections.  Those who pay their memberships online will receive the newsletter via email.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Septic Reinspection Public Meeting

A public meeting will be held at the Springwater Township office at 2231 Nursery Road, Minesing in the Council Chamber.  The scheduled start time is 6:30pm on April 20th.  This meeting will include several reports so there will be a number of issues discussed in addition to the Orr Lake Septic Re-inspection Program.

The initial field evaluation of existing septic systems in the OLRSP area is planned to include lots located within 50 metres of Orr Lake.  This meeting will be of interest to anyone whose property falls withing this range.

We are also attempting to arrange a septic workshop sponsored by the NVCA to be held during the summer. See our annual newsletter for more information and to obtain a copy of the Septic Reinspection Pumpout Report.  The newsletter is included with your paid 2015 membership.  To pay online, please visit our blog.  You will receive a PDF copy of the newsletter as soon as it is available.  You may also mail your $10 membership fee to: 1996 North Orr Lake Rd, Elmvale, ON  L0L 1P0.  A copy of the newsletter will be delivered to your door.