Important Information for All

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!