bayfield breeze issue

The Bayfield BreezeIssue 760 Week 06 Vol 15

January 31, 2024


Issue 760 Week 06 Vol 15
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The community’s passion for, and support to maintain, the Bayfield River Flats Natural Area has resulted in its preservation and now the site will be more accessible. In the latter part of 2023 and into this new year, the Bayfield and area community have answered the call by raising more than $50,000 for the pedestrian walkway. Work on the walkway could commence as early as this Spring. (Submitted photo)

A community drive to preserve nature at the Bayfield River Flats is the result of 45 years of work and public mobilization.

The community fundraising team working to raise $52,000 for a new pedestrian walkway at the Bayfield River Flats Natural Area says the generous support of the community is making a long-time dream a reality.

The creation of a new walkway, under the highway bridge, means that people will be able to walk from Bayfield to the river flats and won’t have to cross the highway to reach the nature area. The new walkway will also limit the need for people to drive down to the river flats.

Roger Lewington is coordinator of the pedestrian walkway fundraising campaign.

“We are very appreciative of the support that we have received from donors who share the vision to make this riverside parkland safer and more accessible,” he said. “Thanks to donors and supporters in the community, we have raised enough money that we can move forward with this project.”

The land trust is hoping to issue requests for tender documents in the coming weeks for work as early as spring 2024.

The B. M. Ross and Associates Limited engineering firm is generously donating its engineering expertise to the project and it is anticipated the pedestrian walkway under the highway bridge will be completed by this summer.

The creation of the pedestrian walkway will be the culmination of the River Flats project that is more than four decades in the making.

The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) is leading the fundraising campaign on behalf of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC). The community raised the funds needed to purchase the Bayfield River Flats property in 2017. At that time, community support was overwhelming, with donations of more than $70,000 collected to buy the property. It was then donated to the HTLTC for permanent preservation. Volunteers from the trail association manage the property.

Preservation of this area is the result of a concerted community effort that began in the late 1970s. At that time, there was a proposal to create a 100-berth small boat marina on the property. The community pulled together to rally for an alternative vision.

The Clinton News-Record, reported in Aug. 23, 1979, that more than 50 village ratepayers met with the council of the day and voiced objections to the proposed marina.

There were 800 people (544 of them village ratepayers and tenants) who signed a petition expressing the concerns with the marina proposal at that time, according to the Jan. 17, 1980 Clinton News-Record. The village had a population of less than 600 people at that time.

Public opposition to the marina continued throughout the 1980s.

An article (“The Bayfield Chronicles”), written by Wendy McCann, in The London Free Press dated Sept. 26, 1987, detailed how more than 200 villagers and cottagers attended a public hearing to oppose commercial encroachment on the tree-lined river development that would “… (destroy) the quality and enjoyment of life…and endanger the environment.”

The marina was never built.

The community’s passion for, and support to maintain, the Bayfield River Flats Natural Area has resulted in its preservation.

The community didn’t just show their opposition to what they didn’t want. They showed what they did want – a beautiful area in which to appreciate nature for recreational purposes like hiking and fishing and perhaps most importantly a habitat for wildlife. They had a vision for the future and they generously supported this vision through their work and their generous donations.

In the latter part of 2023 and into this new year, the Bayfield and area community have again answered the call by raising more than $50,000 for the pedestrian walkway.

Those involved with the project would like to thank everyone who have supported this 45-year-long endeavor to preserve nature at the Bayfield River Flats and both the fundraising campaigns first in 2017 and now in 2023-2024. Collectively everyone can be thankful that this area will remain a natural-environment parkland for people to enjoy for generations to come.


In the center of the Bayfield Heritage Conservation District, Admiral Bayfield Square is a gathering place for residents and visitors. Local history is valued, but how should the community move forward? People can share their thoughts on how to update the heritage district plan during sessions in February. (Photo courtesy Municipality of Bluewater)

The Heritage Conservation District Plan for Bayfield Main Street North and Clan Gregor Square is currently being updated and people will have a chance to join in on the conversation on Feb. 7-8.

On Nov.  4th of last year, 20 members of the community and five members of the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee attended the initial project open house hosted by the Municipality of Bluewater and the consultant team, ERA Architects and GSP Group.

The take-away from this open house was that the heritage value of Clan Gregor Square and Main Street North is valued by residents, business owners and visitors to Bayfield. The hosts heard that the current Plan, written in 1983, does not contain detailed design direction which has created subjectivity in terms of criteria. They also heard that the process for changes to a building is not well understood.

There are three purposes for updating the Heritage Conservation District Plan.

The first purpose is to confirm the boundaries of the Study Area. Which properties should be included as part of the district? Several properties along Main Street North and around Clan Gregor Square ‘opted out’ in 1983 and are not included in the current Plan. There is an opportunity to include new properties based on community input.

The second purpose is to update the design direction. What specific character elements contribute to the district? The public’s insights will assist with development of guidelines that will include detailed design direction on elements such as entrances, windows, rooflines, materials, additions to existing buildings, new buildings, etc.

The third purpose is to clarify the process. This is an opportunity to ensure that flexibility is maintained for property owners and business operators within the district. What is the process when a property owner would like to add an addition to their building? What is the process should a building be proposed for demolition? What is the process when a business owner would like to install a new sign?

ERA Architects have prepared a heritage analysis report for review and discussion. The report will be posted on the project website this week: Bayfield Heritage Analysis Report.

The Heritage Conservation District boundary map. (Image courtesy Municipality of Bluewater)

People are invited to join the project consultants, ERA Architects and GSP Group, to review their recommendations in Bayfield on Feb. 7-8. The purpose is to gain community input on the Heritage Conservation District Plan update as it relates to you. During this two-day session, there will be designated times for input from members of the community, property owners within the Study Area, business owners within the Study Area, and members of the Heritage Advisory Committee and Council.

Members of the public are invited to drop by the Trinity St James Anglican Church Parish Hall, 10 Keith Crescent in Bayfield, and provide their input. An Open House style format will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon and on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 2-4 p.m. A formal presentation and an opportunity for questions will be offered on Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m.

For further information, visit: Bayfield Heritage Conservation District Plan or email


Lyon (Submitted photo)

Bayfield’s Forgotten Felines (BFF) volunteers know that the cats and kittens that come into their care all have a story to tell and this week the focus is on a young male on the roam in search of a home.

Lyon is the Adopt a BFF cat of the week.

Lyon is a young intact male that was found along Pavillion Road in Bluewater.

“He was said to have been hanging around there for close to a year but was becoming a nuisance and fighting with owned cats,” said Deb Penhale, representing BFF. “Of course, if the owned cats were indoors or in a catio this would not have occurred as this boy was only doing what nature dictates.”

Penhale describes Lyon to be super friendly and upon intake he seemed to be in overall good health but felines are sometimes quite good at concealing health issues.

“Although Lyon appeared healthy upon intake, within a week, he started to become lethargic and lost his appetite,” said Penhale. “He ended up at the vets with a feeding tube because he refused to eat. He had a high temperature.”

Penhale went on to explain that with antibiotics, the feeding tube and appetite stimulants he recovered and is now gaining weight and demanding belly scratches.

“Had he still been out on the street when he became ill he would surely have died,” said Penhale.  “He will be back to the vet for neuter and shots at our next available appointment or when funds dictate we can take him. Once that occurs this super handsome young boy will be looking for his forever home!”

Lyon is a reminder that ensuring these cats are happy and healthy comes at a financial cost.

Financial donations may be sent via E-transfer to or mailed to P.O. Box 33, Bayfield, ON, N0M 1G0. The adoption fee is $250. Adopted cats are vetted, shots are up-to-date and they are also spayed or neutered.

In addition to accepting monetary donations, BFF has an Amazon wish list. This list contains items they need for the day-to-day care of their cats and kittens as well as some truly “wish” items. Items are marked as to their priority, number needed, and many explain what their use will be. There is a wide variety of prices and BFF appreciates whatever you can supply. Items need not be purchased through Amazon, the list is merely a guideline.

To view the items on the list please visit:  BFF Wish List.

Pet Valu in Goderich is another location where donations can be made or items purchased for the benefit of BFF. The business is located at 35400 Huron Road.

BFF has a Facebook group dedicated to adoptions known as “Bayfield’s Forgotten Felines ADOPTION Group” so people can view more of the fur babies ready for homes. Adoption inquiries may also be made to the BFF’s email address above.


People often ask if they can add an engraved brick to the path around the Splash Pad in Clan Gregor Square and members of the Optimist Club of Bayfield are pleased to announce that there is further opportunity to have a name added to the circle in 2024.

The engraved pavers in Clan Gregor Square are a reminder of how great area residents and visitors are when it comes to supporting such projects as the Playground and the Splash Pad.

“In Memoriam” stones for loved ones as well as “just because” stones can be ordered with the work being done on site later in 2024 using the same two brick sizes that are already installed around the Splash Pad. The cost of these engraved bricks will be medium, $90; and large, $120. The plan is to have the bricks engraved in late May just prior to opening the Splash Pad.

Anyone with an interest in adding a brick can contact Mike Dixon via email at or by calling 519 955-5254 for further information.


Who has what it takes to be the fastest puzzle maker around? Find out on Feb. 10 at the Bayfield Branch Library when they host a Puzzle Building Competition.

The competition shall be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Those who wish to take part are asked to assemble a team and go head-to-head against other teams by seeing who can assemble a 500-piece puzzle the quickest! Registration is required. There is a limit of six teams with two to four members per team. Please register a team via email at or by calling  519 565-2886.

In keeping with the theme, the Bayfield Branch Library also has a puzzle exchange which people are welcome to use. It is available during regular open hours. People are welcome to trade what puzzles they have at home or can just take one – no library card needed!

The Bayfield Branch Library is located at 18 Main Street North in the village.


The congregation of Trinity St. James Anglican Church invites those in the community to worship with them on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Wednesday services are held starting at 10:30 a.m. while Sundays services begin at 11 a.m. Please note there will not be a Wednesday service today (Jan. 31).

The next Men’s Breakfast at Trinity St. James will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3 and men in the community are invited to attend. Coffee will be served at 9 a.m. with breakfast following at about 9:30 a.m. This is a pay what you are able event. To ensure enough food is available anyone planning to attend is asked to please email John Pounder at prior to tomorrow (Feb. 1).

Rev. Mary Farmer will soon lead a one hour, six-week, Lenten Study starting on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. This Study will be held on ZOOM to allow folks to take part without the worry of travel. It is open to all in the community that may have an interest. Please reach out to Rev. Mary Farmer for further details and a link by emailing

In preparation for the Lenten season the Imposition of Ashes will be held at Trinity St. James on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 10:30 a.m.

Trinity St. James Anglican church is located at 10 Keith Crescent in Bayfield.


Knox Presbyterian Church in Bayfield is located at 2 Bayfield Main Street, North. (Submitted photo)

Knox Presbyterian Church in Bayfield generally holds their Book Study on Mondays at noon (excluding holidays) on the lower level of the church. The reading is a launching point for their discussions.

Their current focus is “Shalom Sistas – Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World” by Osheta Moore. All are welcome to join. For those who wish to take part, the book can be purchased at: The Village Bookshop. Please note that the Book Study will not be held on Feb. 5.

Members of the congregation are currently gathering items for re-use and upcycling. Upcycling takes something no longer in use and gives it a second life with new functions, for example, the outer milk bag can be upcycled into sleeping mats. These mats are distributed to people in need throughout the world. Knox Bayfield gathers clean outer milk bags that have been previously washed and dried, used stamps, empty egg cartons and eyeglasses.  Items can be dropped off at the church from 10 a.m, to  2 p.m. on Sunday and Monday (excluding holidays). People’s generous contributions are warmly accepted and will change lives.

All are welcome to join in weekly services at Knox Bayfield on Sundays at 11 a.m.

Prayer requests can be shared in several ways. Please contact the minister by emailing for more information.

Knox Presbyterian Church Bayfield is located at 2 Bayfield Main Street North. To learn more visit or follow them on YouTube – Knox, Bayfield.


“One book to carry us forward” has been chosen as the theme for Canada Reads this year. On March 3rd, join the folks from The Village Bookshop for Bayfield Reads to be held at the Bayfield Town Hall.

Those who attend the event, that will begin at 2 p.m., will have a voice in deciding which of the Bayfield Reads defenders will take home the People’s Choice Award.

Judges Tyler Hessel, Dave MacLaren, and Rachael Rishworth will determine the winner on a local level.

National best seller and a CBC Books of the Year winner – “Bad Cree” by Jessica Johns will be defended by Catherine Tillmann.

At a young age Tillmann first saw the Northern Lights on the corner of Catherine and Tuyll streets in Bayfield. She has not “read” a book in years but her life experiences are rich and include sitting in the jump seat in the cockpit of a 747 while it landed at Heathrow. This experience will further enrich Tillmann’s life. Organizers look forward to her defending this haunting debut novel where dreams, family and spirits collide.

Tillmann will be joined by defenders Peter Ferguson, Madison Thornton, Paula Brent and Faith Wyant. All of this year’s defenders are determined to prove that their book is the “One book to carry us forward”.

Tickets will be available at the door for $5 and all are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

This year’s Bayfield Reads book selection, and so many more, are available at The Village Bookshop located at 24 Bayfield Main Street North in Bayfield. People can also shop online by visiting: village


The “Coffee & Chat” group at the Bayfield Branch Library has reconvened following a summer break. The Friends of Bayfield Library extend a warm welcome to all who would like to join in.

Participants can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while engaging in conversation with other community members.  The conversation is neutral and inclusive with an endless list of interesting topics for discussion!

The “Coffee & Chat” group will meet in the Bayfield Library Meeting Room every Tuesday from 2-3:30 p.m. The program will extend until the end of June 2024.

This is a great way for newcomers to meet new people, learn about the village, and share ideas. Seasoned villagers are also very welcome. There is no need to register for this program. Just show up and be prepared for some lively discussion!


Mah Jongg is now being played at the Bayfield Branch Library on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Participants are asked to arrive at 12:45 p.m.

All are welcome to take part in this Rummy type game that is played with tiles instead of cards. Instructions are always available.

For more information please email Pat Lewington at


Come and get creative with a variety of fun craft supplies on Tuesday afternoons at the Bayfield Branch Library.

“Crafternoons” will be held for one hour starting at 4:30 p.m.

This is a drop-in program with no registration required – just show up and start crafting!


Attention Bridge playing enthusiasts the cost to attend an afternoon at the Bayfield Bridge Club has been reduced by half – the cost to join the fun is now just $2.

That is quite a bargain that includes coffee, tea and a yummy snack plus a prize for both the winner and the loser.

Players do not need to attend with a partner to participate in these “drop-in” sessions. New people are invited to join in this great opportunity to make new friends as partners are switched after every four hands.

The games are played on Wednesday afternoons at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building located at 6 Municipal Road.  The cards are shuffled at 1 p.m.  All levels of players are welcome to take part in these games that are played year-round.


The next meeting of the Bayfield Lego Club will be Saturday, Feb. 10. Families with an interest in Lego design and creativity are invited to come and further “their love for the brick”!

The club’s 11th session will take place from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall at Trinity St James Anglican Church and will be sponsored by the Optimist Club of Bayfield.

Bayfield Lego Club is open to all children ages four and up accompanied by an adult. Bricks will be provided for use at the meetings and participants will be encouraged to build a creation of their own accord. Following a time on display in the Parish Hall the projects will be broken down by volunteers to make the bricks available for use at the next meeting.

Trinity St James Anglican Church is located at 10 Keith Crescent in Bayfield.


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has recognized outstanding achievements in conservation and stewardship, each year, with conservation awards. In 2024 the conservation authority will present its Conservationist of the Year Award for the 41st time.

Past award winners have included rural landowners and residents, agricultural producers and farms, service clubs, community organizations, companies, nature groups and municipalities.

The local conservation authority invites the public to nominate a person, business, farm, community group, or organization in 2024 for the Conservationist of the Year Award. People may make nominations until Feb. 9. To submit a nomination, visit the website. The nomination form on the Conservation Award web page can be found by visiting: Conservationist of the Year.

Individuals, organizations or companies who either reside in, or have completed conservation work in, the ABCA area are eligible to win the Conservationist of the Year award. Current ABCA staff members and directors are excluded. The Conservation Award acknowledges one individual or group per year who demonstrates positive, sustainable conservation principles. The nominee must have undertaken conservation efforts over a number of years showing long-term benefits for nature and society. Examples of conservation work include: improving local water quality; conservation farming; reforestation; conservation education; providing wildlife and fish habitat; and promoting awareness and action for soil, water, and habitat for all living things.

ABCA presents the winner with a hand-crafted gift and makes a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site maintained by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.


Twenty-seven people braved the cold and wind to attend the Winter Hike along the Varna Nature Trails hosted by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association on Jan. 14. (Photos by Conrad Kuiper)

The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) welcomes all to a hike on the Varna Nature Trails on Monday, Feb. 19.

Starting at 10 a.m. this Family Day hike will be family-friendly, with options for an easy 1 km hike on the Taylor Trail or a continuation onto Mavis’ Trail which is 2.5 km. Participants are asked to dress for the weather: the hope is for some lovely snow, but in an El Niño year anything is possible.  Hike leaders will be Annerieke VanBeets and Nancy McHardy.  Those who attend are asked to meet and park at the Varna Community Complex, 5 km east of Bayfield on the Mill Road.

A map of the Trails can be found by visiting: Bayfield Trails  For more information contact Ralph Blasting at 519 525-3205 or email

The BRVTA  is also pleased to announce its full 2024 hiking season.

Twenty hikes and events are planned from now through December.

This year’s hikes include the fifth annual International Women’s Day Hike, the fourth annual Indigenous People’s Day Hike, and the second annual Pride Hike.

The Winter Hike for 2024 lived up to its name.

The BRVTA will also support the Earth Day Village Litter Walk, the Terry Fox Run, and the Candlelight Walk in support of Huron Hospice.

On some of the hikes guest guides will enhance the experience. The scheduled guest guides are: Jen Pate, George Ebers, Jordan George, David Yates, Michele Martin, Robert Tremain, and Sondra Buchner.

All hikes are free and open to the public without pre-registration, unless noted otherwise.  The schedule is subject to change, so always check for updates in the Bayfield Breeze, the BRVTA Facebook page, and the Municipality of Bluewater events calendar, or contact hike coordinator Ralph Blasting at the contact information listed above.

It should be noted that the Woodland Trail is closed twice a year during hunting season. In 2024 those dates will be Nov. 4-10 and Dec. 2-8.

A list of upcoming hikes and BRVTA activities for 2024:

  • Feb. 19: Family Day Hike, 10 a.m., Varna Nature Trails
  • March 8: International Women’s Day Hike, 4 p.m.., Heritage Trail, Bayfield
  • March 23: World Water Day Hike, 1 p.m.,  with Jennifer Pate, environmentalist, location TBD
  • Apr. 6: Candlelight Memorial Walk, 7 p.m.,Taylor Trail, Varna, with Huron Hospice***
  • Apr. 20: Earth Day Hike, 1 p.m., with Michele Martin, environmentalist,  Woodland Trail
  • Apr. 22: Tenth Annual Earth Day Village Cleanup, 10 a.m., Clan Gregor Square, Bayfield.
  • May 4: Wildflower Hike, 10 a.m.,  with Robert Tremain, Bannockburn Conservation Area***
  • May 15: Birdwatching Hike, 8:30 a.m., with George Ebers, Windmill Farm ***MO
  • May 20: Village Tree Walk, 10 a.m., with Sondra Buchner, Clan Gregor Square Gazebo, Bayfield
  • June 9: Second Annual Pride Hike, LGBTQAI2S+ especially welcome, 11 a.m., Heritage Trail, Bayfield
  •  June 22: National Indigenous Peoples Day Hike, 1 p.m., with Jordan George, Varna Nature Trails
  • July 1st, Canada Day to the Bayfield River Flats, 10 a.m., meet at Clan Gregor Square Gazebo, Bayfield
  • July 13: Admiral Bayfield Walk, 10 a.m. with David Yates, historian, Heritage Trail, Bayfield
  • July 27: Stop and Look, Slow Walk, 10 a.m., photographers welcome, Sawmill Trail
  • Aug. 10: Love your Greats Clean-up Day, 10 a.m., Bayfield River Flats
  • Aug. 24: TBD
  • Sept. 7: Mushroom Hike, 10 a.m. (Tentative – seeking a micologist!), Woodland Trail
  • Sept. 15: Terry Fox Run, 10 a.m., start at Clan Gregor Square gazebo, Bayfield.
  • Oct. 26-27: Witches’ Walk (Tentative with times to be announced), Varna Nature Trails
  • Nov. 9, Night Hike Owl Prowl, 7 p.m., Sawmill Trail
  • Dec. 1st, Candy Cane Hunt, 1 p.m., Varna Nature Trails

*** No dogs please.

MO – BRVTA members only; limit 20. Pre-register by emailing


The first photo (‘Before’) is from 2014, before the wetlands project conducted by Mels and Ruthanne van Der Laan began. The second photo (‘After’) is from 2015, after the completion of their wetland project.Thanks go to the van der Laan family and all the agricultural producers and local rural landowners in the watershed community who are undertaking wetland projects to the benefit of their properties, habitat for wildlife, and water quality and quantity. (Submitted photos)

Since 2008, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has helped 245 local landowners to create 131 wetlands totaling almost 1,000 acres (including riparian/riverbank plantings).

Angela Van Niekerk is ABCAs Wetlands Specialist. She said these wetland projects have been possible with low or no costs to the landowners thanks to the support of funding partners. Staff make it easy for landowners to do these projects with little or no paperwork, she said. The conservation authority provides local wetland expertise and facilitates the funding for landowners to support their projects. ABCA encourages local landowners to contact staff for all their wetland project questions and needs.

World Wetlands Day will be celebrated in 2024, on Friday, Feb. 2nd.

“This World Wetlands Day, we would like to thank everyone who values wetlands,” said Van Niekerk. “We would like to thank all the people who are helping to conserve natural areas, woodlots, wet areas, and grasslands on their properties.”

Mels and Ruthanne van der Laan, of Cold Stream Ranch, Denfield, are some of the local landowners enhancing wetlands on their property. In 2010, they contacted ABCA to see if it was possible to restore four acres of what was once pasture land for their Texel sheep. ABCA staff helped them turn the four acres into attractive wetlands.

“The wetlands attract wildlife such as deer, ducks, and a variety of birds,” according to Ruthanne. “There is a muskrat house in the pond. There are lots of frogs, snakes and a resident Heron and many wildflowers to admire. Neighbors stroll through at any given time just to admire the changes that have taken place over the years.”

The Denfield couple said the wetland is beautiful, even in the wintertime, and it leaves a legacy for the future.

“The family is taking over from us and it is perfect to leave a legacy for them,” Ruthanne said. “The grandkids will remember Opa taking them outdoors and talking about the environment and all of nature’s wonders.”

They loved the first wetland so much, they did a new project in 2023. They restored an additional 3.6 acres by planting trees and constructing a second wetland.

Do you think a wetland may enhance your property?

“Call Ausable Bayfield Conservation for a site visit and to see about funding for your project,” said Van Niekerk.


Management of emergencies in rural areas is a complex issue. Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health’s (Gateway) latest episode in their ongoing virtual rural health lecture series will address this topic.

This lecture will feature a presentation by PhD Candidate Amanda Mongeon, from the University of Guelph, who will be presenting her doctoral research, “Enhancing Emergency Management in Rural Northern Ontario: Learning from COVID-19″. In this lecture, Mongeon will be using Northern Ontario Municipalities’ experiences with COVID-19 to identify opportunities for future emergency response.

Joining Mongeon in this presentation will be panelists: Fort Frances Councilor Wendy Brunetta; Karrie Lepoudre and Adam Zuback both from the Canadian Red Cross.

This one-hour lecture will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 6,  starting at noon via ZOOM.

To register, please visit Gateway’s website at


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), working with local landowners and other project partners, has planted more than one million trees since 2006.

Ian Jean is ABCA Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist. He said it is the work of local landowners, and the support of project partners including funding partners, that has made the tree program so successful. Local landowners plant tens of thousands of trees each year.

“When we looked back at the numbers recently, we noted that, since 2006, just more than one million trees had been planted across the watershed,” he said. “The other thing we noticed was an increasing trend in the number of people planting trees.”

While more people are planting trees, this does not necessarily translate to more trees being planted each year. The number of trees planted in the watershed remains steady, fluctuating between 35,000 and 70,000 annually. The presence or absence of one or more large planting projects can make the difference between tree planting numbers at the higher or lower end of that range, according to Jean.

Trees and forests help to create clean air and clean water, Jean said. Trees and forests also contribute to better mental and physical health.

More than 200 landowners in the watershed planted trees or had ABCA staff plant trees for them in 2023. This high level of interest, in taking action to improve the water, air and soil, is worth noting.

“People are engaged, and they are working to make positive improvements,” he said.

Spring is not far away and ABCA staff say a sure sign of spring coming is the Spring Tree Order Form. It is posted at the conservation authority website at on this web page: Order Trees.

Interested landowners may submit mail-in tree orders until Jan. 31. Tree orders accompanied by payment are taken until Feb. 29.

ABCA offers a wide range of trees through its spring tree planting program. The Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist encourages interested landowners to visit for the spring tree order form or to give him a call at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 to discuss planting projects.

“We’re happy to help with project design and help to apply for funding for eligible projects,” he said.

Funding programs are available in many areas for naturalization dependent on the type of project, location and specific program details.

ABCA thanks grant program funding partners including member municipalities, Huron County Clean Water Project, Forests Ontario, the Government of Canada’s Canada Nature Fund, Sunset Community Foundation and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, along with other funding partners, community donors and other valued funding partners.

Anyone who has property on which they can plant trees, is asked to consider purchasing a tree through the tree order program. If someone doesn’t have room on their property for trees, they can still help to improve forest conditions by donating to tree planting through the Footprints to Forests program. To learn more visit:  Footprints to Forests.


St. George’s Anglican Church in Goderich will host their 44th Shrove Tuesday Pancake and Sausage Supper on Tuesday, Feb. 13 with three meal service times and some special musical entertainment.

The first opportunity to indulge in some pancakes will happen at lunchtime. This meal service style is designed for people to come and go between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

There are two evening sittings. The first sitting will be at 5 p.m. The doors will open at 4:15 p.m. for pre-dinner music in the church sanctuary provided by the Goderich District Collegiate Institute (GDCI) Jazz Band. The second sitting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 5:45 p.m. and once again the GDCI Jazz Band will provide some musical entertainment for attendees.

Tickets for the Supper are $10 per person; children under five years of age are free. Tickets are available now by visiting Fincher’s and Cravings, both located on The Square in Goderich or by calling the church office at 519 524-2274.

St. George’s Anglican Church is located at 87 Nelson Street in Goderich.


Good Neighbours of Bluewater (GNOB) is excited to announce the return of “Muffin Time” now on Thursdays for one hour beginning at 10 a.m. This is a great time to renew acquaintances, meet new friends and indulge in baked goods! Muffin Time is sure to become a Thursday staple amid the other GNOB activities of the day.

In addition to their coffee hours, exercise classes, cards and board games, GNOB hosts special educational events.

GNOB will host two Learning Hub “Staying Safe Online: Internet Safety for Everyone” classes. The first will be held on Feb. 1st from 6:30-8:30 p.m. followed by the second on Friday, Feb. 2 from 1-3 p.m. In this course, participants will look at how to safely navigate the Internet including creating strong passwords (and how to remember them), social media safety, how to avoid phishing and malware and learn about two factor authentication. For more information or to register please contact the Learning Hub directly at 519 527-2288 Ext. 2508.

Good Neighbours of Bluewater is located at 28 Goshen Street North in Zurich. People can learn more about GNOB by visiting:


The cost of housing is top of mind for many, and United Way Perth Huron (UWPH)’s Social Research and Planning Council (SRPC) wants to learn how individuals and families across the region are being affected.

“The news is full of housing statistics,” said Kristin Crane, director of Social Research and Planning for United Way. “What we hear less often are stories about the people behind the numbers. The Cost of Housing survey offers a safe space for people to share their experience. The SRPC and United Way are in the business of helping us all understand and build our communities. We want to cultivate compassion and caring and learn how we can better help those facing the challenges of homelessness, precarious housing and unaffordable housing.”

Open during January, the survey offers people a chance to share how they have been impacted by the current crisis. The digital-only survey is anonymous and takes around seven minutes. For a link, visit

“This information is critical from the perspective of community building,” added Ryan Erb, UWPH executive director. “It also helps UWPH as we continue addressing housing and homelessness regionally, whether that’s helping with rent arrears through the Urgent Needs Fund, connecting vulnerable people with services at our Connection Centres or developing and sustaining housing through United Housing. We encourage people to take the survey.”


The Alzheimer Society Huron Perth will host two movies, “The Father” and “Supernova”  at the Huron County Museum in Goderich as part of their 2024 Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

These movies will be presented for free but donations to the Alzheimer Society would be gratefully appreciated.

The Father will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 1st at 7 p.m. Supernova will be presented on Feb. 1st at 2 p.m.

The Father is an Academy Award Winning movie that stars Anthony Hopkins (Antony)  and Olivia Colman (Anne). It tells the story of how father and daughter navigate difficult choices – safety and independence, good days and bad, boundaries and love.

Supernova stars Colin Firth (Sam) and Stanley Tucci (Tusker). These partners of twenty years are on a road trip across England visiting friends and family. Enroute they reflect on life’s priorities, dealing with loss and their ongoing commitment to each other.

For more information please contact the Alzheimer Society Huron Perth by emailing or by calling 519 482-1482.

The Huron County Museum is located at 110 North Street in Goderich.


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is preparing for the future of local conservation by creating a new watershed strategy. The local conservation organization is looking to the public to provide input into this plan to guide local watershed management.

A new Watershed-Based Resource Management Strategy (WBRMS) will fulfil requirements of the Conservation Authorities Act. It will also meet local needs to protect life and property from natural hazards and to manage and protect resources on a watershed basis.

During the first phase of development, earlier in 2023, the public was invited to provide feedback on the ABCA vision and mission, guiding principles and objectives.

“The feedback was largely positive,” said Kate Monk, ABCA Projects coordinator. “We are building on the first phase to identify the best way to address the issues, fulfil our responsibilities and serve the community.”

The draft strategy proposes six focus areas for the ABCA:

  • Protecting life and property from natural hazards of flooding and erosion
  •  Conservation authority lands and passive recreation
  •  Research and monitoring
  • Outreach and education
  • Stewardship, restoration and forestry
  • Drinking water source protection

These areas comply with the Conservation Authorities Act and enable the ABCA to deliver the programs identified in agreements with the municipalities.

“No single agency has the capacity to do everything,” she said. “We will continue to collaborate with municipalities, citizens and agencies to work towards the goal of a healthy environment for future generations.”

At their Dec. 14 meeting, the ABCA Board of Directors approved these program areas for public review. Interested people can review this phase of the Strategy and provide feedback through a survey which includes spaces for written comments. The feedback period for this phase of the document continues until Jan. 31st, 2024.

To learn more about the WBRMS, people can visit the: Public Consultation Page on the ABCA website.  If they have questions, they can contact staff by telephone at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.


The Conservation Dinner community fundraiser and auction will take place on Thursday, Apr. 11, 2024. Tickets are available now.

Chris Keller, of the Exeter Lions Club, is Conservation Dinner Committee Chair. He said people are encouraged to buy tickets for themselves and guests. He also said tickets are a great gift during this holiday season.

People can buy their tickets from a Conservation Dinner Committee member or from the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) office. People can pay for their tickets by cheque, cash or credit card. They can even pay by e-Transfer. Anyone who is buying their ticket by e-Transfer, is asked to use the email address and include their mailing address and/or email address in the e-Transfer message box and specify if the payment is for a Conservation Dinner ticket or if the payment is a donation to the Dinner.

The Conservation Dinner takes place at South Huron Recreation Centre at 94 Victoria Street East in Exeter. Tickets are $100 each and patrons receive a charitable gift receipt, for income tax purposes, for a portion of that amount.

To buy tickets to the Conservation Dinner, or to donate, phone 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or email or visit the ABCA office east of Exeter at 71108 Morrison Line (just south of Hwy 83).

The 2024 Conservation Dinner is the 34th event since 1990. This community fundraiser has raised more than $1.335 million for the community over 33 years. The Exeter Lions Club has been co-partner, with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) and the watershed community, on the Dinner, since 1991. Net profits are split 50-50 between community conservation projects of the ABCF and community conservation projects of the Exeter Lions Club.

The auction and dinner supports projects such as a family-friendly fishing derby, accessible nature trails in Bayfield, Clinton, Parkhill, Lucan, Arkona, Exeter, and Varna; opportunities for students to experience outdoor nature education; a $1,000 student environmental grant for students in local communities; a summer job at ABCA for a senior secondary school student; turtle monitoring and events in Port Franks and Ailsa Craig; aquatic habitat studies in Old Ausable Channel, Grand Bend; nature day camps; Owl Prowl; and parks and conservation areas.

The annual event features live and silent auctions of art and distinctive items such as travel packages and sports and entertainment memorabilia. The Dinner has special raffles, general raffles, appetizers, wine tasting, a wonderful meal, and fun and fellowship.

Find out more at or visit the ABCF’s webpage: Conservation Dinner.


The South Huron Medical Centre Walk-in Clinic is open on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays (except for Christmas Day) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration opens at 10:45 a.m. and closes at 1:45 p.m. or earlier if capacity is reached.

No appointment is needed. Please bring your health card.


Looking for what is happening now in the village? Look no further than the Bayfield Activities Calendar . People are invited to refer to this website to learn what activities, from Pickleball to Mahjong, are happening and when.

Remember This

The Huron County Museum is home to thousands of artifacts that illustrate the history of both the rural and urban populations of the area. Space dictates what wonderful curiosities the public regularly gets to see when they visit the museum located at 110 North Street in Goderich. But where there is wifi, there is an opportunity to time-travel with over 6,700 pieces of the museum’s collection now available to view online at

“Remember This” highlights items from the collection of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol. Items that have shaped the fabric of the county and the people who have lived here since before the county became the county in 1835 up until more recent times.

In the countdown to Valentine’s Day we take a closer look at the jewellery that is a part of the Museum’s collection…


This necklace has a link chain; it bears a pendant that is brass plated and has 42 rhinestones. Not only can the pendant be worn as a necklace but it also has a clasp on the back so it could double as a brooch. It is also possible that this clasp was used to secure the pendant while it was hanging around someone’s neck.

This necklace and pendant are an example of early costume jewellery probably from the 1920s.




From appetizers to condiments and main dishes to desserts, Huron County’s newest cookbook, “Tastes Like Home: Around the World in Huron County”, celebrates comfort, connection, and creative expression through food.

Tastes Like Home features recipes that embody comfort foods and traditional fare from around the world. This cookbook is the culmination of a community arts project that had three professional artists lead participants through a storytelling and an art workshop where they created whimsical masterpieces in a variety of mediums. From South African Bobotie, Polish Golabki, Indian Dosa, and Syrian Kibbeh, to American Peach Cobbler and the popular Dutch holiday treat, Olliebolen, this unique cookbook shares recipes from some of Huron’s life-long residents and recent newcomers to the County.

“This cookbook represents the growing cultural diversity being reflected in our communities,” said Mark Nonkes, manager of the Huron County Local Immigration Partnership. He added that Statistics Canada data shows there are 52 languages spoken in the county. “Immigrants from countries around the world have chosen Huron County as a place to call home and Tastes Like Home celebrates their culinary heritage.”

Copies are selling for $15 each and are now available for purchase from the Huron County Museum in Goderich, or from any branch of the Huron County Library. Please note that libraries are only able to accept cash.

This project was made possible through a partnership with Huron County’s Cultural Services, Economic Development (Taste of Huron) and Local Immigration Partnership departments and was funded in part by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“Tastes like Home: Around the World in Huron County” is the culmination of a community arts project that had three professional artists lead participants through a storytelling and an art workshop where they created whimsical masterpieces in a variety of mediums. (Photo courtesy of Huron County Immigration Partnership)




January Greys…By EJ Bauer

Submit Your photo

Email your photo in Jpeg format to with the subject line Subscriber Photo of the Week. or…Upload your photo to Flickr.

I am looking for the Bayfield that is a delight to the eye – please share photos with a touch of whimsy, beauty, humor or a sense of fun. If you are to include people in your photos be sure to have their permission to publish their picture on-line and also send in their names and where they are from. And don’t forget to tell me who took the photo for proper credit to be issued.


Image of Melody Falconer-Pounder


Melody Falconer-Pounder

The Bayfield arena  has been a part of the village landscape for 70 years with the first structure being built by volunteers in 1953. The year Canada turned 100 saw volunteers once again in action adding a community centre and ice making equipment to lengthen both the skating and hockey season. The arena and community centre served the community in good stead for 25 years. When the original facility was condemned by government authorities the village residents sprang into action. Through grants, tremendous service club support and community donations a new facility was built in its place. This second iteration was completed in 1979 and responsibility for it was passed from the Village of Bayfield to the Municipality of Bluewater at the time of amalgamation in 2000. In the Summer of 2018, Bluewater decided that they would no longer support the Bayfield Community Centre for the next and subsequent Winter seasons. This could have been the end of the story but the residents of the village and surrounding area rallied to find a solution. This solution came in the form of a Public-Private Partnership that transferred the Operations and Marketing of the Community Centre back to the Community.  Since the Spring of 2020, the Bayfield Facility Initiative Team (BFIT) has run the facility on behalf of the community.

So what has prompted this little history lesson you might ask? Well, the Bayfield Community Centre has been nominated for Kraft Hockeyville for a chance to win $250,000, funds that could go a long way in enhancing the long-standing  tradition of hockey and skating and community gatherings in this community. Finishing upgrades to the ice system, a new time clock and renovating the community hall are on the wish list!

Bayfield proves time and time again that anything is possible if we unite in our goal setting (pun intended!). People can help rally by posting pictures/videos on the Bayfield page. There is a spot to write little notes about why the Bayfield Community Centre is worthy of the top prize. And folks can also hit the like button on photos and stories. For every action taken we collect points to advance to the next round. You must register an email address to participate and photos and stories posted will then be approved by Hockeyville admins. People can share on Social Media that Bayfield is in the running and there is even a poster on the Hockeyville website you can print off and post! 

Come on Bayfield, let’s show our community centre some collective love one more time! This round runs now until Feb. 18. Go to: Bayfield Community Centre – Kraft Hockeyville to join the cheering section! – Melody 

Ideas and contributions to the Bayfield Breeze are always welcome.
Deadlines for submissions are Sundays at 4 p.m.