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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Waste Free Wednesday

On May 4 30 energetic volunteers came out to pick up litter throughout Wingham. In just two hours teams covered every street in town plus the community trail. A total of 50 bags of garbage was picked up. Each volunteer separated recyclable from non-recyclable waste as they picked up the garbage.
Tim Hortons donated coffee and timbits for the volunteers to enjoy in the train station at the conclusion of the event.
Organizer, Pete Mulvey, said he plans to run the event again in the fall making this a bi-annual event. In the attached photo, note the 2 pictures of a discarded shoe.

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LED Sign Installed

  Installation of the BIA’s LED sign at the Tim Hortons corner was completed Apr. 5. All going well the sign will be powered up on Wednesday and we will see various graphics displayed on the sign.

The BIA’s LED sign is meant to promote attractions and events in Wingham. (shows at the theatre, fireworks, BIA retail promotions, blood donor clinics, Wingham Community Trail, Alice Munro, etc)

At the last BIA board meeting, the board voted in favour of, for the first year, also featuring two BIA member businesses per week… for FREE. You can view this as yet another benefit of being a member of the Wingham BIA.

The sign will also be used to welcome new businesses opening in Wingham, and the 5th, 10th, 15th… etc business anniversaries of any BIA member business. If you have a business anniversary coming up be sure to let us know.

Special thanks go to:
Hodgins Rona for donating the sonotube and lumber for constructing the sign base
Township of North Huron Works Dept for their vacuum truck and time in coordinating bringing power to the sign from the MacDonalds corner across the road
Sepoy Wiring for much need assistance it getting power to the sign
Hurontel for donating a data SIM card for one year allowing us to remotely upload graphics to the sign
Ashley Vander Velden of Naturally Bongins for volunteering to create all the graphics that will be displayed on the sign.

The BIA is not selling advertising space on the LED sign at this time. Currently we will only be promoting Wingham events and Wingham attractions. 

Organizations wishing to promote their Wingham event on the BIA’s LED sign are to send an email to with the text and images they wish have on the sign. The BIA board reserves the right to approve or deny any request.       Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. — Henry Ford
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BIA Board Recognizes Retiring Co-founder

At the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Wingham BIA, Chair Dave Tiffin recognized the contributions of retiring board member Lisa Hearnden with the Lifetime Achievement certificate. Lisa was a founding member of the Wingham BIA and her contributions to the community have been huge over the years. Below is a letter she wrote the board and general membership.
Thank you, Lisa.

March 2022

Dear Wingham BIA Executive and General Membership:

From its inception, the Wingham BIA has demonstrated the truth of the statement “there is strength in numbers”.

We have worked, as a group, towards the common goals of strengthening Wingham as a town and making Wingham an attractive shopping and business destination for residents and non-residents alike.

The Wingham BIA’s ongoing support of non-retail events such as the Muskrat Festival, Festival of Lanterns, the Canada Day Fireworks and the Santa Claus Parade continues to strengthen our community as a whole.

I have been fortunate to work alongside a dedicated executive team, enthusiastic BIA members and many volunteers from the community who have all chosen to generously contribute their time to enrich our town.

Together we have accomplished so much. Some of the stand out achievements include: The Christmas Lights in Cruikshank Park; retail promotions that have attracted new and existing customers while at the same time donating back to the community; main street improvements that have included decorative snow flake street lights, the hand railing at the Cenotaph, Canadian flags, volunteer clean up, flower baskets, and Christmas greenery all of which enhance the appearance of our main street. None of these great initiatives would have been possible without the assistance of volunteers who believe in the spirit of Wingham. 

I am very proud to have been a part of the Wingham BIA since its inception and to have worked with all of you. I am honoured to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. 


Lisa Hearnden

Wingham BIA Chair, Dave Tiffin, presents retiring Board member Lisa Hearnden with the Lifetime Achievment certificate.

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Annual General Meeting – Feb. 17/22

The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday evening, Feb. 17. The meeting was held virtually due to Covid protocols currently in place. A small group responded to the invitation were were given the following updates:

Chairperson’s Report of 2021 BIA Activities

Chair Dave Tiffin gave a summary of 2021 to the attendees. 2021 was another up and down year for Wingham businesses due to lockdowns. We did see the return of the Santa Claus parade, which the BIA covers insurance for.  Thanks to the Lions Club for organizing. The Festival of Lanterns continued for the 8th consecutive year.  Mark McDougall and Lisa Hearnden continue to lead this event. Work is almost complete on the LED sign at the south end of town.  Hydro was run in the summer.  Delivery delays slowed installation, but everything is in order with expected completion by end of the month. The installation was passed at the 2020 AGM and we anticipate this being a significant help in making the public aware of events to draw people to the community. A list of allowed postings has been drafted.  This will be subject to periodic Board review. The BIA also wrote to North Huron Council and spoke at Council in support of converting the train station to a museum. We’re pleased to see this passed as we expect it to be a tourist draw to the area bringing people to our business community. Fundraising committee has been created.


Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven presented the 2021 financials. There were no questions from the attendees. The 2022 budget was presented for approval. The BIA is expecting a return of spending support for the July 1st fireworks, and the Santa Claus parade. The Board will be looking into new streetlight banners highlighting Wingham’s strong musical history. The budget was passed unanimously.

2022 Goals:

We are hoping for and expecting the lifting of Covid restrictions.  Also hope to see the return of the July 1 fireworks, which the BIA sponsors and expect to be able to have the Christmas light in Cruickshank return as a community event in mid-November. Retail promotions similar to other years will be held, but we’re open to modifications. A tourist map project is in development.  This will provide visitors with overall view of the area, with sponsoring businesses highlighted.  Hoping to work with Blyth BIA, North Huron Ec Dev and Advance Times on this. We plan to work with theatre to bring live shows to Wingham.  We’ve seen that good performers will come to Wingham and we need to build on that to draw people to town and our business community. The BIA is looking into the next major project.  With the success of the snowflake lights and now the LED sign we’re considering new banners for streetlight. Although not a goal, the BIA Chair is part of the Vance Trust committee which will see initial disbursements in 2022.

The Board is only a small group of volunteers.  As such constructive input, and assistance, from the membership is always welcome.

Election of Board Members:

The BIA Board can consist of 4-8 business owners/employees, 2 of which can be Associate members. The Board had room for up to 3 new Board members. At the meeting Carolyn Young of Libro Credit Union and Ashley VanderVelden of Naturally Bongins were nominated and allowed their names to stand. With less than 4 nominees no election was necessary. The 2 nominees will need approval by North Huron Council, which is fully expected.

BIA Award Announcements

New Businesses: 

Teenie Tiny Tots
Sunnyside Grill
Castings Public House
Maitland Auctions
Mikaylo Home Furnighings & Decor

  • Civic Improvement: Murray Simpson – Castings Public House
  • Special Award – Green’s Meat Market.  This is hopefully a one time award.  Recognizing Green’s Meat Market for their resilience and determination to rebuild and reopen within a year of a devasting fire.  Congratulations to the Green family on all the hard work to accomplish this.
  • Lifetime Achievement – Lisa Hearnden
    • Lisa is an original Board member.  Over the years she has been incredibly valuable to the BIA.  Lisa, along with Mark McDougall have co-ordinated the Festival of Lanterns and she was the driving force behind the production and installation of the Christmas gnome theme along Josephine St.  She’s participated in many Curb Appeal projects, has always been willing to volunteer her time and will be missed. Thank you Lisa

If anyone has questions related to the BIA feel free to email

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Provincial Update on Reopening – Jan. 20/22

    Among changes: Restaurants, gyms, theatres and others to open at 50% capacity Jan. 31 The provincial government announced this morning that a number of businesses will move to or stay at 50% capacity, effective Jan. 31.The Huron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huron want to do its part to flatten the curve. We distribute rapid antigen screening kits. We promote Shop Local. We distribute information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet we also join the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in a call for clarity and transparency in a long-term plan for reopening our province. The blunt instrument of lockdowns and limited capacity is exhausting for our members and simply not sustainable.We continue to push for a plan.Below, you will find the government’s press release, issued today.Be well,HHeather BoaOperations ManagerHuron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huroninfo@huronchamber.ca519.440.0176 Ontario Outlines Steps to Cautiously and Gradually Ease Public Health Measures Time-limited Measures to Blunt Spread of Omicron Protecting Hospital and Health Care CapacityJanuary 20, 2022Premier’s Office TORONTO — With key public health and health care indicators starting to show signs of improvement, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, today released details of steps to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures, starting on January 31, 2022.“The evidence tells us that the measures we put in place to blunt transmission of Omicron are working,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures. While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”As a result of the additional public health measures enacted on January 5, 2022, the province is beginning to see signs of stabilization in key public health and health system indicators. Per cent positivity has fallen and new admissions to hospital have started to stabilize with length of stay shortening considerably. Over the coming days and weeks, these trends are expected to continue, allowing the province to begin cautiously easing public health measures.In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting public health measures, with 21 days between each step.January 31, 2022Effective January 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario will begin the process of gradually easing restrictions, while maintaining protective measures, including but not limited to:Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)Shopping malls;Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;Cinemas;Meeting and event spaces;Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; andCasinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishmentsReligious services, rites, or ceremonies.Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.February 21, 2022Effective February 21, 2022, Ontario will lift public health measures, including:Increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.Removing capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, cinemas, as well as other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.Permitting spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 per cent capacity.Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.March 14, 2022Effective March 14, 2022, Ontario will take additional steps to ease public health measures, including:Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures.Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings.To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.“Thanks to the sacrifices of Ontarians we are starting to see glimmers of hope. However we know the coming weeks will continue to pose challenges, especially for our hospital partners,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we continue to chart our path forward, we will continue to take a gradual and cautious approach to lifting public health measures to protect our hospital capacity and ensure patients can continue to access the care they need.”“Thanks to the efforts of Ontarians going out to get their booster dose and adhering to current public health and workplace safety measures, we are in a position where we can begin planning to gradually and cautiously ease restrictions,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “The months ahead will require continued vigilance, as we don’t want to cause any further disruption to people’s everyday lives. We must continue to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities by following the measures in place and by vaccinating those who have not yet received their doses.”To support businesses required to close or reduce capacity due to the public health measures put in place to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has launched the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program. Through the new program, the government will provide eligible businesses with a rebate payment of up to 100 per cent for property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these restrictions. Applications for the program opened on January 18, 2022. Learn more about the program and apply here.The government is also introducing a new COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant that will give businesses subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen a $10,000 grant. The money will flow to eligible businesses in February. In addition, the government is also improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by making up to $7.5 billion available through a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This penalty and interest-free period started on January 1, 2022. This supports businesses now and provides the flexibility they will need for long-term planning. Quick FactsFull details, including all public health and workplace safety measures will be shared as Ontario progresses through its reopening plan.Since Ontario entered modified Step Two, over 150,000 Ontarians have received a first dose and more than 725,000 Ontarians have received their booster. Ontario is leading the country in getting boosters into arms and we have administered nearly 50 per cent of all third doses in Canada.Effective January 4, 2022, the use of the enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app has been required where proof of vaccination is required. Download by visiting, or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your vaccine certificate mailed.On January 17, 2022, Health Canada approved the antiviral Paxlovid. Ontario is expected to receive approximately 10,000 courses of treatment from the federal government in January, with eligibility to be focused on adults with the highest risk of severe outcomes.In response to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, Ontario updated its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines. Learn more about what to do if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Additional ResourcesOntario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to ReopenOntario Updating Public Health Measures and Guidance in Response to OmicronOntario Taking Action to Protect Against Omicron VariantAll Ontarians 18+ Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Appointments at Three-Month IntervalFor public inquiries, please contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007).For resources in multiple languages to help local communication efforts in responding to COVID-19, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 communication resources webpage.Businesses that have questions about public health and workplace safety measures can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.    Huron Chamber of Commerce | Website‌ ‌ ‌ 
Huron Chamber of Commerce Goderich Central, North Huron | PO Box 144, Goderich, Ontario N7A 3Y5 CanadaUnsubscribe chair@winghambia.caUpdate Profile | Constant Contact Data NoticeSent by powered byTrusted Email from Constant Contact - Try it FREE today.Try email marketing for free today!
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No Place Like Gnome for Christmas

The 2021 Christmas retail promotion is now over, and we have 5 winners of $250 in BIA Community Cash coupons each. These coupons can be spent at most Wingham businesses like cash. Business owners then redeem the coupons at Libro Credit Union for the full face value. It’s a win win for the customer and the local business owner.

The 5 winners were Leisa Abers, Val Weber, Deryl Price, Sheena Haines and Lorraine Meech (husband Haari shown in picture). Congratulations and thank you for shopping local!!


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Proof of Vaccination – QR Code Information

The Ontario government has mandated that as of January 4, 2022 only a QR code, along with photo id, will suffice as proof of Covid vaccination.  QR codes are new to many people, so here is a summary of frequently asked questions:

  1. What is a QR Code?  – It is a machine-scannable image that can instantly be read using a Smartphone camera. Every QR code consists of a number of black squares and dots which represent certain pieces of information. When your Smartphone scans this code, it translates that information into something that can be easily understand by humans.  It looks similar to image below.
  • Where do I get my vaccination QR code – Vaccinated residents of Huron Perth can go the province’s website for proof of vaccination at
    • This explains, simply, what is necessary to get your proof of vaccination.
    • You will be able to download and/or print the certificate.
  • How is the code used – Show your QR code either in paper format or as an image on your phone when entering a location requiring proof of vaccination.  The person you show the code will scan it and if a green check mark appears, your proof is valid.  You will be required to show a photo id to ensure you are the person on the QR code.
  • What if I don’t have a cell phone – If you can’t have an electronic image, print the proof of vaccination and keep it with you.
  • What if I don’t have a printer – Libraries will assist people who don’t have access to a computer and/or printer in order to get their proof of vaccination QR code printed.
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Christmas in Wingham

The Christmas shopping season kicked off in Wingham on Nov. 12. The Christmas gnomes have arrived along Josephine Street and the Cruickshank Park Christmas lights were turned on in the evening. Christmas music will be playing shortly.

Several retailers are having a Christmas promo through the shopping season. Fill out a ballot whenever you make a purchase at a participating business. Each Saturday, starting Nov. 20 a ballot will be drawn and the lucky winner will receive BIA Community Cash to spend at a local business. BIA Community Cash should be accepted at all Wingham businesses. The business owner redeems any submitted coupons to Libro Credit Union for full cash value. This keeps shopping local and after all “you can find it all in Wingham”.

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Centre for Employment & Learning Celebrates 20 Years

It is hoped that 2021 will be a year to celebrate many things, including the ever-nearing end of the COVID-19 pandemic and our children finally back to regular in-class learning.
For the Avon Maitland District School Board, it is also a time to celebrate 20 years of managing the Centres for Employment and Learning, a much-needed and well-used service provider for the residents of Huron and Perth Counties.
In September of 2001, the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) hoped to make it easier for members of our community to achieve their learning and employment goals. To do this, they brought together under one roof a variety of services which had previously been delivered by a variety of providers and organizations. These services included Adult Education, Literacy Services, English as a Second Language, and Employment Services. The marriage of all these services meant that residents of our community now had only one stop in their quests for better employment and learning opportunities.
Five Huron County sites (Wingham, Goderich, Clinton, Seaforth, and Exeter) were created to house the Centres for Employment and Learning (CELs), in the hopes of making the programs accessible to all residents. (In Perth County, the school board continued to operate learning programs in Listowel and Stratford, but employmentfocused programs were still delivered by other organizations.)
Since 2001, the CELs have helped many residents in their employment and learning needs. Some of the programs they offer are outlined below.
Services for Learners
The CELs offer free learning programs in both Perth and Huron Counties. These include English as a Second Language classes, skills upgrading programs, and high-school credit and GED preparation programs.
The English as Second Language classes are made up of new refugees and
immigrants to Canada, as well as non-English speaking residents who may have lived in Canada for many years. Classes range from beginner to intermediate and are a great way for non-English speakers to meet one another and to develop the confidence to really get involved in their new communities.
The Centres also offer a variety of learning programs. Learners can upgrade their skills with either in person or online programming. With help from Literacy Practitioners, learners can work at their own pace to improve reading, writing, math, computer/internet and workplace skills. They can also prepare to write the GED or get ready for high school credits. The LearningHUB ( is a free online portal that offers training in many topics, including Customer Service Essentials, beginner and intermediate Microsoft Office programs, and trades math upgrading to name only a small fraction of what’s available.
Huron and Perth counties also offer adult education and high school credit courses, including co-op credits. This is for people who either need their high school diplomas or who wish to upgrade their courses to gain admission to college or university programs.

Services for Job Seekers
The CELs in Huron County offer a wide range of free Employment Ontario programs.
Who has used these services over the past 20 years? People laid off from work due to labour market change, workers (from business owners and managers to minimum wage earners) unhappy with their careers and looking for change, new immigrants just starting out in Ontario’s job market, people who’ve been fired or quit their jobs for various reasons, retired persons just looking for something to do to keep busy, people who haven’t worked for many years due to disability, injury, addiction, child care duties, or any other reason… In short, anyone.
What are these services? Free assistance in creating targeted resumes and cover
letters, assistance with online applications for people not able to use or access
computers, employment counselling which can include career decision making and onthe-job advice, interview preparation and practice, connecting with employers on clients’ behalf, arranging for training or skills upgrading, and even offering some funding to assist with the job search process. All services are offered with compassion, without judgement, personalized to the client’s needs, and are 100% confidential. Some clients need only a small bit of assistance, and others work with us for months or even years.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to job search and the flexibility built into these fantastic services allows the CELs to offer help to everyone.

Services for Employers
The CELs of Huron County assist not only job seekers, but also employers. One of the most popular programs offered to employers is the Job Matching Placement & Incentive (JMPI) program. The program offers employers up to $6000 as a wage incentive when they hire a new staff member who is registered with one of the CELs. There is also an Apprenticeship Signing Bonus which offers an employer another $2000 if they register their new staff member as an apprentice. This money is normally used to offset wages but can be applied to training programs as well. The discretion is up to the employer.
The idea of this program is to recognize the financial burden that employers take on when they hire new staff, particularly staff who may be facing barriers (such as language ability, mental health, or skills gap).
Another popular program for employers delivered through the CELs is the Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG). Funded both federally and through Employment Ontario, this program offers up to $10,000 for eligible training for EACH existing employee and up to $15,000 for EACH previously unemployed new-hire. The purpose of this funding is to create a skilled workforce for Ontario, which benefits everybody. There is a wide range of eligible training but some of the more popular courses include AZ licencing, leadership skills, computer skills, gas fitting licencing, and fitness training certifications.
Other free services for employers include creating job postings, collecting resumes, and even giving advice on wages, interview techniques, training and translating referrals, and health & safety information.
The year 2020 (and the first half of 2021) was a difficult one for learners, job seekers and employers, but things have been looking up as we move into fall. Since the creation of the Centres for Employment and Learning 20 years ago, staff have been both challenged and incredibly rewarded by helping those in our community. It is the hope of the Centres for Employment and Learning of the Avon Maitland District School Board that everyone in our community continues to be able to achieve their learning and employment goals. For more nformation visit and learn how the Centre for Employment and Learning can assist you.

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