Christmas Time in Wingham

Christmas season is officially on in Wingham with the annual Lighting of the Lights at Cruickshank Park on Nov. 17.

Several people were on hand for the 6:30 lighting sponsored by the Wingham BIA. The BIA would like to thank North Huron Public Works, the Wingham Firefighters and the United Church choir for their assistance and participation. The choir leads the gathering in singing Christmas carols. Also a thank you to Dave Wallace for the sound system and special thanks to Tharon Riley as the lead on this event for several years now, along with some volunteer assistance. After a welcome from the BIA chairperson, Wilma Hiemstra said a few words about the reason for the season before the carolling began.

Remax Realty was onhand serving hot chocolate and cookies to the crowd. Someone referred to the event as a “Hallmark moment”.

Merry Christmas everyone. And don’t forget to shop Wingham!!

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Community Cash (BIA Bucks) on Sale

The Wingham BIA Board has approved a sale on Wingham BIA Community Cash, commonly referred to as BIA Bucks.  There is a 5% discount on the purchase of BIA Bucks through November to December 24..

Great for Christmas bonuses to employees. Great for stocking stuffers.
The benefit to the community in that the BIA Cash gets spent in Wingham.
Purchase BIA Bucks at Libro Credit Union in Wingham. Sales is on now.

The following conditions apply to this sale:

  1. The sale only applies to purchases of full booklets.
  2. A booklet valued at $200 can be purchased for $190.
  3. Coupons are in a mix of $10 and $20 denominations.
  4. The purchase must be made between Nov 1st to Dec 24th, 2023.
  5. The maximum amount that can be purchased under the sale is:
    1. $4000 per business
    2. $600 per individual
  6. There is a limit on the amount being sold and when that limit is reached, the sale ends.

BIA Bucks should be redeemable at all Wingham businesses except for chains like McDonalds, Tims, Pioneer etc. Business owner takes coupons to Libro for full reimbursement.

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New Benches Have Arrived

The purchase of new benches for Josephine Street was approved at the BIA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March with $30,000 being allocated for the benches in the 2023 budget. These benches will be placed where the existing benches are located.

A subcommittee researched and put out RFQ’s (request for quotes) to various Canadian suppliers. Classic Displays in Mississauga was selected by the Wingham BIA board to supply the new benches. The actual cost for the benches came in at $20,000 + HST.

The new benches have a slightly higher seat height and an extra arm at the 1/3 – 2/3 split to make it easier for anyone to sit down and get up from the benches.

The North Huron Works Dept will be installing the new benches in the spring of 2024. We look forward to these beautiful new maintenance free benches replacing the old ones!

The old benches will be refurbished and then installed along the Wingham Community Trail, replacing benches that are deteriorated, and/or providing additional benches along the trail. The $30,000 that was budgeted for the new benches included an allocation of $5,000 for refurbishing the old benches.

The BIA Board

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2023 Libro Grant Applications About to Open

  • Through our Annual Grants program, Libro funds initiatives helping address local priorities aligned with our pillars of financial resilience, employment, local food accessibility and housing across southwestern Ontario
  • This year we will invest $310,000 in our local communities through this program
  • Applications are open from April 17 to May 26 
  • Applications will be reviewed and selected by locally elected Owner Representatives (Grant Champions) 
  • Amount per grant:  $5,000 to $ 20,000 

Please pass along to the community groups you are involved in that might fit within one of the pillars.

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Wingham BIA Holds 2023 AGM

The Wingham BIA held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the lounge of the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Called to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair, Dave Tiffin read the minutes of the 2022 AGM, which had been held virtually due to Covid in February 2022. The minutes were passed unanimously. Economic Development Officer Demetri Makrakos then presented proposed changes to the Wingham BIA constitution. This dealt with removing the industrial park businesses from the levy which reduces the annual levy by approximately $2,500. The changes were passed unanimously.

Chair Tiffin then gave a report on 2022 activities which included:

  • 2022 saw the reopening after Covid.  The online shopping trend will remain a concern for brick and mortar businesses.
  • However, we did see new businesses open their doors in Wingham– Riverview Local Eatery, Cornerstone Pizza, Pet Valu, Duck Duck Juice, Noah’s Pizza
    • We did, unfortunately, lose a few businesses well.  Some for personal reasons.
    • The LED sign project was completed in March.  We have received many positive comments from both residents and other towns.
      • We’ve been asked about putting paid advertising on it, but as a volunteer board we do not have the resources to manage that at this time.
      • 2 BIA member businesses are featured weekly
  • The July 1 fireworks returned and the Santa Claus parade was held again, as in 2021.  The BIA covers the extra insurance cost for these events.
    • BIA brought in and paid for Seaforth Marching Band.
  • The lighting of the Christmas lights in Cruikshank returned as an in person event.
    • Unfortunately vandalism is a problem at the park with items being broken or stolen.
  • Curb appeal continues with the addition of 2 Waste Free Wednesdays.  These were initiated by a Wingham citizen, but the BIA buys the gloves and garbage bags. 
    • Curb appeal also coordinates the summer flower baskets and Christmas gnomes, with help from volunteers.
    • BIA volunteers continue to assist with Josephine St appearance.
  • 2 successful retail promotions were held with the summer sidewalk sales moving to August from July.  Thank you to Ashley Vander Velden for all the work she did on these and initiating some new ideas.
  • As Chair, I spoke to NH Council to promote the Museum project.  This has unfortunately been discontinued due to budget restraints.  This is a loss to the business community from a tourism aspect.
    • There is however an initiative in the works to have an Alice Munro display at the local library.
  • Worked with Mid West Communications on the Tourist Map of Wingham and North Huron area.  These are distributed throughout the area.  We have samples here for anyone who hasn’t seen one.  Please feel free to take a few or request some that could be picked at your place of business.

Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven presented the financials for 2022. There were no questions from the floor. Kuyvenhoven then presented the proposed budget for 2023 which was passed unanimously.

Council representative to the BIA, Mitch Wright, gave an update from Council. Wright gave a brief but very informational report on some current NH issues.

Chair Tiffin then returned to the podium to list the BIA goals for 2023. These include:

  • New benches along Josephine St. to replace the existing ones.  Existing benches will be refurbished and placed at locations along the walking trail.
  • Continue to promote the Town Hall Theatre shows which draw people to Wingham and the business community.
  • New flags and banners will be on streetlights. See the image below.
  • Looking for new Christmas theme.  Gnomes have had their run.
  • Considering some other projects, but nothing definite at this point:
    • Security cameras
    • Historical plaques
    • Josephine St wifi
    • Alice Munro display at library
  • Will continue to align with Wingham Community Connectors to promote events and positive aspects of Wingham
  • F.E. Madill planning to hold a career/job fair in March.  BIA is assisting with promotion
  • Continue the biweekly roundtable calls with other HC BIAs and HC Ec Dev for information sharing
    • Will keep notices of programs and training on the BIA FB page.
  • Curb appeal projects – Doug Kuyvenhoven
  • Expect to run retail promotions again, but will be looking for a Coordinator.

Makrakos then reviewed the nominees for the Wingham BIA Board for 2023. The BIA can have 4-8 members plus 1 Council representative. There were 5 returning Board members and 2 nominations. Returning members are Dave Tiffin, Doug Kuyvenhoven, Annette Monsma, Carolyn Young and Jim Snyder. The new nominees are Joey Havers and Ryan Fergusson. The members will need to be approved by North Huron Council, but no issues are anticipated. Ashley Vander Velden decided to not return to the Board due to work commitments.

The annual BIA awards were next on the agenda. The BIA has categories for new businesses in the year, civic improvement, lifetime achievement, and volunteer of the year. Not all awards are necessarily given each year. For 2022 the new businesses were Duck Duck Juice, Noah’s Pizza, Riverview Local Eatery, Cornerstone Pizza and Pet Valu. Civic improvement went to Fogal’s Independent and KYC for work done on their facades as well as Maitland Family Dental for their new accessible entry. Volunteer of the year was presented to Ashley Vander Velden for her work on the year’s retail promotions.

The meeting closed with a question and answer session but there were no questions from the floor. Monthly BIA Board meetings are the 3rd Thursday of each month with the exception of July. They start at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the Hot Stove Lounge of the NHWCC.

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Update from Economic Development Officer

Hello to all Wingham members,

At the September 19th council meeting, the proposed parking by-law was sent back to North Huron staff with direction to get feedback from local businesses. Staff has decided to take the opportunity to include with some parking questions, a more in-depth Downtown Business Survey. We are aware some of you filled out a similar survey last year for the Huron County Business Retention & Expansion report, however we believe the economic environment has changed enough to warrant recollecting, updating and adding some further questions. We have also included a one-page economic development update as well as a Jobs Posting Analysis:

  1. Downtown Business Survey à will take 20-30 minutes to complete. Digital survey link here (, paper copy available as well attached to this email, can be sent to
  2. Economic Development Update à community profile, grant funding opportunities, upcoming webinars & training. See the link below. 
  3. Job Postings Analysis à this report was presented to council at the Oct 3rd meeting, looking at the number and types of occupations posted in North Huron since 2018. See the link below. Businesses having trouble hiring might find this useful. A regional analysis expanding on this report is currently underway.

Should you want to discuss Josephine and Queen Street parking in more detail, North Huron staff welcomes businesses to join us at the Wingham Town Hall theatre on Wednesday October 26th between 8am to 9am. We’d ask that you email if you plan to join us so we have an idea of numbers.

Demetri Makrakos

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Municipal All Candidates Meeting

The Huron County Chamber of Commerce is hosting an All Candidates meeting for non-acclaimed candidates in the North Huron municipality.  This is for candidates for Reeve and Council. It does not include School Board candidates. It will be held Thursday, Sept. 29 beginning at 7:00 in the Wingham Town Hall Theatre.  Voters can submit questions to candidates ahead of time to

The official list of candidates can be viewed and downloaded at

Candidates have 2 minutes to present their platform. After a break they will respond to written questions. Questions can be emailed ahead of time to Huron County Chamber as noted above, or written during the break and submitted to the Moderator.

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Sidewalk Sales

The summer sidewalk sales weekend was changed from July, as in previous years, to the Aug 4-6 weekend. Feedback has been very positive on the change. This year, the event also included many more activities. The Alice Munro Library ran a Kidz Zone with face painting and arts and crafts. There was a fundraiser with proceeds going to the Wingham and District Hospital and buskers displaying their talents. Lady Glaze Donuts were in town for Friday and Saturday serving up their unique donuts, coffees and delicious shakes.

On Saturday, Castings Public House hosted a parking lot party with live music, a dunk tank and live entertainment. Mary Cook was the winner of the business gift cards, which was the prize of the hospital fundraiser.

It was great to see some new ideas this year, and hopefully we can continue to grow this event into something larger. If you have some ideas or would like to help out with future events we are always open to constructive input. You can reach us directly by email at

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New Businesses

Welcome to new businesses in Wingham! In recent weeks we’ve seen new businesses open up in our main business core. Riverview Local Eatery has been open for several weeks now and is located in the former Riverview Drive-in Restaurant location at the north end of Josephine St. Pet Valu has opened at the south end of town in the new building beside McDonalds and the Petro Canada gas station. Cornerstone Pizza has opened in the former Bell’s Pizza location, but is still using the amazing Bell’s recipes for pizzas and subs. Noah’s Pizza is also opened and is in the former Godfather’s building. This is a second location for Noah’s, named after the owner’s son, with the other in Linwood.

Also, don’t forget that Homegrown Food Basket has relocated further north on Josephine to #239. The larger space can accommodate more produce from local suppliers.

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Community Improvement Plan Applications Available

The Community Improvement Plan (CIP) initiative for Wingham, Belgrave and Blyth main streets remains open for applications in 2022!

There is $40,000 in matching grants available to commercial building owners and retailers along the business cores for building, signage and other storefront improvements. Successful applicants can receive 50% assistance on a project to a maximum of $10,000.

Through North Huron’s Community Improvement Plan, two grant programs are offered annually – the Commercial Façade Improvement Grant Program and the Direct Grant for Structural Work Program.

Full information on the CIP can be found at

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