Bookmark and Share   Jan. 13, 2021   Vol. 12 Week 3 Issue 601

Huron's First Casualties of World War II featured in book 

49223920587_a8b7d9df18_mDavid Yates (Submitted photo)

"That Freedom Might Survive” is the latest offering by Huron County Historian David Yates. The book is a collection of stories on Huron County's epic contribution by land, air, sea and on the homefront during WWII. For a small county in rural Ontario, Huron County's war effort was certainly impressive with stories on ordinary people who did the extraordinary in one of the most important periods in Canadian and world history. This book is a tribute to Huron County’s ‘greatest generation’.

One of these real life tales tells of the torpedoing of the ‘S.S. Athenia”...


atheniaThis is a photo of the passenger steamer S.S. Athenia shortly after it was struck by Berman navy torpedoes on Sept. 3, 1939, killing 117 civilians and crew. Several Huron County residents were on board, two of whom were lost making them among the first casualties of World War II. The story is from David Yates newest offering, "That Freedom Might Survive". (Submitted photo)

On Sept. 3, 1939, U-Boat commander Fritz-Julius Lemp, ordered two torpedoes fired at the British passenger liner “Athenia” killing 116 civilians in the first blow against the western allies. Most of them were women and children. Two of the victims were from Huron County.

The Athenia was built in 1923 in Scotland to carry passengers between Canada and Great Britain. On Sept. 1, 1939, the Athenia departed Glasgow harbor enroute to Montreal, she was crammed with 1,103 passengers and 315 crew.

There were a few eastern European refugees on board, 311 Americans and 434 Canadians trying to return home before hostilities broke out. Amongst the Canadians were a Goderich couple, Frederick and Sarah Weir. The Weir’s were returning from six weeks visiting relatives in Scotland. Mr. Weir was a local Justice of the Peace, and Knox Presbyterian Church Sunday School teacher.

Thornton Mustard and was his wife, Pearl, were returning on the Athenia from a visit with their son, Dr. Donald Mustard, who was practicing medicine in Birmingham, England. Mustard was born in Brucefield, attended Clinton Collegiate Institute and graduated from Toronto’s Faculty of Education in 1910. In 1938, Mustard had just been appointed Principal of the Toronto Normal School. When he boarded the Athenia, Mustard was acknowledged in Max Caulfied’s, “A Night of Terror” (1958) as one of Ontario’s “foremost educationists.”

Mrs. Weir later claimed that when Britain declared war at 1100 hrs (GMT) on Sept. 3, a ‘bulletin had been put up’ informing passengers. Athenia Captain James Cook that night ordered lights out and steered a zig zag course with instructions to the crew not to unduly alarm the passengers.

Uberleutnant Lemp spotted the Athenia at 1630 and at 1940 he ordered two torpedoes fired at her. One torpedo missed but the other slammed into the Athenia amidship. Although Germany was not a signatory of the 1930 London Naval Treaty which forbade merchant vessels to be torpedoed without warning, German standing orders issued in 1936 permitted attacks on merchant vessels only if passengers could be safely removed. Not only did Lemp do nothing to assist passengers, survivors bitterly remembered the sound of the U-Boat’s 4.7-inch gun firing shells into the mortally wounded Athenia.

The German government denied responsibility for torpedoing the Athenia. Hitler still had hoped for a diplomatic solution with Britain and France on the first day of the war. As unrestricted submarine warfare was the justification for America’s entry into World War One in 1917, the German High Command was fully aware of the need to avoid antagonizing the US through killing American civilians.
Clearly, Lemp had disobeyed orders which forbid U-Boat commanders from firing on unidentified vessels. When he realized his error, Lemp fled the scene of the crime. He did not report the Athenia's sinking to the German High Command until Sept. 27.

The official Nazi line accused Winston Churchill (he was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1939) for deliberately staging the incident for propaganda purposes.

On board the Athenia, Mrs. Weir went to the ship’s lounge while Mr. Weir decided to stay in the cabin. It was a separation that was to last an eternity as Mrs. Weir recalled that when the torpedo exploded “the ship lurched madly and then everything went into total darkness.” Trapped below decks, Mr. Weir was probably killed in the initial explosion.

Amazingly, panic was at a minimum. Passengers and crew alike donned lifebelts and made their way to the lifeboats. Chief Officer Copland explained that what made the lifeboat launchings easier was the high proportion of women on board who “were not prepared to take the law into their own hands.” When one man tried to shove his way onto a lifeboat, one female passenger grabbed him and said, “This is a British ship, and it’s women and children first.”

Mrs. Weir’s testimony bears out “the wonderful courage and strength of the women when the men at the oars became too tired their places were taken by women and there wasn’t a whimper from them.”

Despite spending 11 hours on a crowded lifeboat with 40-50 ‘motley’ survivors clad in pyjamas and ‘thin frocks’, Mrs. Weir stated that the “women showed remarkable calm, of course, there were those crying out for their children from whom they had become separated and there were little tots crying for their mothers. It was terrible.”

A Royal Navy destroyer rescued Mrs. Weir’s boat whose crew treated the survivors “with every possible care and courtesy.” Mrs. Weir was returned to Scotland and made it back to Canada on Oct. 14, 1939. Mr. Weir’s body was never recovered.


After initially reported as safe in the Clinton News-Record (Sept. 7, 1939), the fate of Thornton Mustard was one of the most tragic. Mustard’s wife reserved for him the last spot on one of the lifeboats. He was about to step in when a young woman appeared on deck. He moved aside and offered the spot to the woman. That was the last Mrs. Mustard saw of her husband.

Thornton Mustard finally got into lifeboat 5A. When the Norwegian ship Knute Nelson came to rescue Mr. Mustard in lifeboat 5A, it got too close to the propellers. The overcrowded lifeboat was pulled into the propellers and the ‘gallant’ Mr. Mustard, along with several other passengers, was killed at the moment of rescue.

Among Mr. Mustard’s four surviving sons and one daughter, was Dr. William Thornton Mustard. Dr. William Thornton became a brilliant heart surgeon who would be awarded the Order of the British Empire and the Order of Canada.

Uberleutnant Lemp explained to his superiors that he believed the vessel was either a troop ship or an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Both explanations were flawed in that he had ample time to confirm the vessel’s identity. In a clumsy attempt at a cover-up, Lemp was ordered to re-write his log book omitting the torpedo attack. Lemp went down with his U-Boat on May 8, 1941.

Public opinion in 1939 could still be horrified by the wanton murder of 116 civilians (85 of them were women and children) aboard the Athenia. Resolve in Canada and Britain was stiffened by this act of ‘terror’ on the high seas. Huron County lost two of its most distinguished citizens. Yet, Thornton Mustard and George Weir were just the first of millions of innocent civilians to be killed in the Second World War. It was a minor affair by the standards of the Holocaust, but the torpedoing of the Athenia was the first Nazi atrocity of World War Two.

“That Freedom Might Survive” is available for $25 from The Village Book Shop, Bayfield; Fincher’s Books and The Book Peddler in Goderich; Blyth Citizen; and MyTy Books, Clinton.

Library Reads available via curbside appointment 

IMG_9662The staff at the Bayfield Public Library look forward to days when they are able to provide their regular services. With the present lockdown they are offering curbside pick up by appointment only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. (Photo by Jamie Thomas)  

The year 2021 will mark eight years since the current Bayfield Public Library building opened to the public and that is reason to celebrate.

The staff at the Bayfield Library would like to offer thanks to the Friends of Bayfield Library (FOBL), patrons, volunteers and all their visitors who have made this library the vibrant hub of the community!

They look forward to a brighter future, days when they are able to provide their regular services. With the present lockdown they are offering curbside pick up by appointment only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

People are encouraged to check the library catalogue online at to place their holds and the staff will set up at time for people to come and pick them up! Or feel free to contact staff by calling 519 565-2886 or email They are ready to assist with everyones library needs and reads!

Planned Bayfield seeks online public consultation 


Are you interested in the future development of Bayfield? A Secondary Plan is being developed for the Village.  

Community input is currently being sought through

Who is involved? This project was initiated by the Council of the Municipality of Bluewater. A Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), made up of individuals from the community, are advising on the development of the Plan. The members of the CAC include: Councilor Bill Whetstone, Chair; Leanne Kavanaugh, Vice Chair; Abby Armstrong, Andre Mech, Councilor George Irving, Dave Gillians, Dave MacLaren, Elaine Coombs, Gary Davidson, Gayle Waters, Jean Anne Hamilton, Jeff Graham, John Van Ogtrop, Kim Loebach and Roger Lewington.

What will this project result in? Planned Bayfield will have two main deliverables:
1) A high-level, conceptual plan showing the preferred location of future residential and commercial development, infrastructure, general street configurations, parks and trails, natural areas and connections. The Plan will include a discussion of cultural heritage features and other community assets such as public art, gateways, treescapes, vistas, etc.

2) A document which outlines the community’s vision and proposed amendments to existing planning tools to implement the vision within future decision making. The document will also include urban design and architectural direction. The tools to be amendment will include but not be limited to the Bluewater Official Plan, Zoning By-law and Site Plan Control By-law.

How will this project be completed? The Plan will be developed over the next six months and will include multiple rounds of public consultation through the online platform as well as consultation with stakeholders, such as local community groups, and agencies, such as the Ministry of Transportation. The process has been adapted to respond to current public health protocols.

The initial round of consultation is live now and is designed for broad visioning. Subsequent rounds will ask more pointed questions on a range of thematic areas which will be based on the initial round of input. Draft policy shifts and implementation tools will be posted for the community’s review and input.

How can I get involved? Visit and register as a participant in Planned Bayfield. There are different ways to give input such as surveys, dropping pins onto a map to identify key locations, telling stories, etc. For example, in the first round, aerial imagery of Bayfield in 1955, 1978 and 2015 allows for reflection on how the Village has changed over the past 65 years and how it might change moving into the future. What is the community vision for Bayfield in 20 years and beyond?

Why develop a Secondary Plan now? With increased capacity at the wastewater treatment plant, Bayfield will have the infrastructure required to accommodate new growth. The purpose of the Secondary Plan is to ensure that change and growth, such as new residential and highway commercial developments, are designed to meet the community's long term vision.


farmers' market 

49518362936_295f7f7852People may not be aware but the Bayfield Farmers’ Market didn’t close up shop at the end of Thanksgiving – the online store is still operating with bi-weekly pickups or contactless delivery.
The next market pick-up day is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15.

People can place their orders by visiting
from Sunday, Jan. 10 at 8 a.m. to Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. Shoppers will be directed to pick up their items up on Jan. 15 sometime between 3-5 p.m. at Shopbike Coffee Roasters on Bayfield’s Main Street. They will receive an email confirmation (Thursday) with the approximate time of delivery on Friday afternoon.

Orders can be paid online with credit card or email transfer. Organizers are pleased to offer delivery within 15 KMs of Bayfield for a flat fee of $5. Shoppers can select their preference at checkout. 

Anyone who would like to receive a reminder to shop the market when it opens is invited to join the Bayfield Farmers’ Market email list. People can do so by visiting:


The generosity of the community continues to brighten the lives of the people who look to the Bayfield Area Food Bank (BAFB) for support.

This week volunteers with the BAFB would like to thank the owner and staff of Out of the Blue Fish & Seafood Market for their generosity.

“A sincere thank you to Sue Larson and the staff at Out of the Blue Fish & Seafood Market for their generous donation of non-perishable food items collected over the Christmas season by their business,” said President of the BAFB, Terry Henderson. “Out of the Blue generously offered a free dinner order to anyone bringing in a donation for BAFB to their restaurant. The result was a very ample collection to help us restock for the New Year.”

Anyone in need of assistance at this time, is asked to please reach out through either an email to or phone/text 519 955-7444. All enquiries are handled with complete confidentiality.

For anyone wanting to drop off a non-perishable food donation, the outdoor bin located at Trinity St. James Church on Keith Crescent, has been moved to the north entrance of the parish hall. This red bin is sitting next to the recycling container at that doorway facing the parking lot, and is emptied frequently, especially with the freezing temperatures to come.

Please note, monetary donations are always a very welcome gift as well, as this allows BAFB to purchase needed items that aren’t otherwise available.

For anyone who would like to support BAFB with a monetary gift, there are a few options available. Cheques can be mailed to: Bayfield Area Food Bank, 10 Keith Cres., Bayfield, ON, N0M 1G0. A collection container for cash donations is located at The Bayfield Garage at the corner of Hwy. 21 and Jane St. An e-transfer can be made through BAFB’s gmail account: or a donation can be received on-line through the website.

All donations of $20 or more will be receipted for tax purposes. BAFB is a registered charity with CRA. Anyone who would like a receipt, is asked to ensure that their name and address are clearly provided along with the donation.


After what has proven to be a year filled with new experiences and protocols, the Bayfield Yacht Club (BYC) is pleased to say farewell to 2020 and to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2021!

The BYC recognizes that the 2020 Boating Season held a significant amount of adjustment in how both the BYC functioned as well as how local Marinas and beaches were utilized.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our past and present members as well as all of the stellar individuals at Bayfield Marina, Harbour Lights Marina and Bayfield Marine Services for making the very best of a less than favorable situation this past year. The amount of time, work and cooperation that was selflessly invested in maintaining as ‘normal’ a season as possible for our boating community was greatly appreciated,” said Jayne Dietrich, BYC commodore, representing the BYC Executive Team.

“We are confident that in the twenty weeks between now and the 2021 Spring Launch that the restrictions and hurdles we faced over the past year will begin to ease and in turn allow the BYC to have a more active and involved 2021 Season,” she added.

The BYC Executive Team will continue to monitor the ever-changing protocols and work to create events and activities that fall within the allowable guidelines for 2021.

For those members who paid their Membership Dues for the 2020 Season, their 2020 Membership has been extended to cover the 2021 Season. For anyone wishing to join or renew for 2021, they can do so by

“May everyone have a safe and enjoyable winter; we look forward to seeing you in the spring!” concluded Dietrich.

Anglican Church

Trinity St. James Anglican Church has now suspended their in-church Wednesday morning, Communion Services. 

Sunday services will continue at 11 a.m. and are provided virtually over ZOOM. All are welcome. The congregation would also like to invite people to join in their relaxed Coffee and Conversation hour also held over ZOOM every Thursday and Friday starting at 11 a.m. To join any of these ZOOM sessions please contact Rev’d Mary Farmer at

It's cookie season

Bayfield Guiding is pleased to announce that it is Chocolatey Mint Cookie season. For the first time ever, people can order their cookies online and have them shipped right to their door anywhere in Canada! Please note there is a minimum cookie order and a shipping fee.

Here is the link: online cookie portal.

A limited number of cookies have been distributed to the Bayfield membership for in person selling at $5 a box. They will be following COVID-19 protocols. So don’t miss out on supporting Bayfield Guiding directly by emailing to make arrangements for cookie delivery.

Centre for the arts 

The Bayfield Centre for the Arts (BCA) is planning a future fundraiser by paying homage to their temporary location – The Barn at 24 Main Street North in the village, the former home of Kryart Studio behind The Village Bookshop.

Artists are invited to donate an original 12” X 12” art piece depicting an Ontario barn in any medium and captured from any angle. These donated barn paintings will be hung and displayed for sale in The Barn in the Spring of 2021. All proceeds will go toward education and appreciation of the arts.

Please email to let organizers know of intent to participate and to receive an information package.


IMG_8078 Sydney (Submitted photo)

BFF has helped hundreds of feral and abandoned cats find their forever homes but many are still waiting.

Sydney is the Adopt-A-BFF featured cat of the week.

Sydney is a petite, female kitten, approximately three months old. She was found with severe burns on her back leg possibly from touching a car exhaust pipe. She was taken to the clinic for examination and the vet explained that it will be a long time before the burn is completely healed but she will recover.

Despite all she’s been through this little love muffin is very cuddly and entertaining. She is extremely excited to see food and treats!

Once this sweet baby is healed and vetted, she will be looking for her forever home. Anyone interested in adopting Sydney is asked to reach out to Bayfield’s Forgotten Felines at

Donations are always welcome as the cost of a vet visit is $150 per feline, a lot more for cats with special needs. Any financial amount whether it be large or small would be most appreciated. E-transfers can be sent to the email above or email to arrange for a drop off or pick up of donations. Cheques can be mailed to Bayfield’s Forgotten Felines, P.O. Box 33, Bayfield, ON, N0M 1G0.




new research associate and chair join gateway team 

Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new research associate as well as welcoming a new research chair to the organization.

The Gateway Board of Directors is pleased to announce Leslie Walker has been appointed as a Research Associate and welcomes Alis Bonsignore, PhD (candidate), R.Kin., to the Gateway Team.

Walker is currently completing her Doctorate of Social and Economic Sciences at the Vienna, Austria University of Technology. Her research focuses on technology theories and policies to reduce the inequality associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health care. As such her research conclusions are highly relevant to regions such as Huron County.

IMG_7047 (1)Leslie Walker (Submitted photos)

“I am thrilled to be joining the Gateway team and have already been inspired by the world class research and the commitment to rural health in our region. I hope to use my consulting background to strengthen the organization and amplify the amazing value the Gateway team has created thus far,” said Walker.

Originally from Goderich, Walker completed her Honours Bachelor of Commerce and Psychology at McMaster University and Master of International Business from Queen’s University, including an international MBA exchange to Guanghua School of Management in Beijing, China. She has spent the last four years working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), working globally on large digital enablement projects with major tech companies such as Google and Microsoft. Her focus on public-sector clients has allowed her to use cloud technology and a metrics-based approach to provide better, more cost-effective services to citizens.

President of Gateway, Gwen Devereaux, said “How fortunate we are to have Leslie join us bringing such exceptional talent to our region”.

Walker has always celebrated her Huron County roots and is particularly fond of summers in Goderich. She can be frequently seen paddle boarding on the lake, enjoying the G2G trail and visiting the Goderich Library.

Alis headshotAlis Bonsignore

Bonsignore previously obtained her Master’s degree in the Department of Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia and is completing her PhD in the Department of Exercise Sciences at the University of Toronto (anticipated Winter 2021). During her PhD, she was honored with one of the highest ranked Canadian graduate scholarships from the Canadian Institution of Health Research and was successful in securing over $175,000 in funding to support her research. The focus on her research program examined the physiological changes that occur to both the blood vessels and the heart secondary to cancer therapies. Secondly, she examined how these physiological mechanisms can be used to inform clinical practice and policy to determine which cancer survivors should be referred to cardiac rehabilitation in order to reduce their risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in this population.

In her new role as the Program Director, Healthy Hearts Cardiac Rehabilitation, she has a growing interest in understanding the differences in the delivery, uptake and effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation programs in rural communities compared to more urban centres. Secondly, she is interested in designing more effective and integrated models of cardiac rehabilitation aimed at addressing the unique barriers that are experienced in rural communities. She hopes that this research will help inform policy makers, government and stakeholders on how cardiac rehabilitation can be improved to ensure equity of access and delivery of care in rural communities.

Devereaux welcomes Bonsignore to her new role as Chair of Rural Cardiac Rehabilitation, “In addition to her research experience, Alis has extensive experience as a clinical Kinesiologist in cardiac rehabilitation, in program design and development, and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. These experiences will lend success to her new role at Gateway CERH.”

“I am pleased to join Gateway and be a part of such a diverse organization with a common goal to improve the health of rural residents. It is my hope that my research expertise in the field of cardiac rehabilitation combined with my passion for clinical program development will lead to positive changes for our community and beyond,” said Bonsignore. “Together, with Gateway, my research program will support undergraduate and graduate students research that focuses on identifying gaps in patient care and creating pathways that lead to improvements in the access and delivery of cardiac rehabilitation in rural communities.”

ABCA invites schools to become watershed champions 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) invites local schools to become champions for a healthy and clean watershed. There are grants for local schools to complete projects that: improve surface and groundwater quality, forest cover, and overall watershed health; or an educational school event or activity on one of these topics. The local conservation authority offers four grants of up to $500 each.

The 2020-2021 school year is the fourth year of the grant program. An application form and guidelines are available online at The deadline for applications is Monday, Feb. 1.

“We know schools want to improve their student outdoor learning spaces and we are excited to offer up to $500 to help local schools with watershed projects through our continued partnership with NextEra Energy Canada,” said Denise Iszczuk, Conservation educator with ABCA. “We have been impressed with the projects that have been completed by local schools and we look forward to reviewing applications which help to improve soil, water and living things in our watershed.”

Schools can apply for one of two categories: 1) Creating Awareness; and 2) Taking-Action.
In the past year, three schools, located in Parkhill, Mount Carmel and Hensall, were successful in the Taking-Action category

One school in Parkhill completed a project called ‘Greening Sacred Heart’ where the goal was to plant trees and shrubs in a schoolyard, which had none. Students commented, “I like how people will have a place to sit after the trees and shrubs grow” and “It was science in a fun way. We spent our whole morning outside.”

Another school in Mount Carmel created a more welcoming outdoor exploration space for their kindergarten students by planting native species of pollinator plants into raised garden beds.

Lastly, the ‘Inquiry Forest-Reforestation of Inquiry-Based Learning Area’ project completed in Hensall saw that native tree species were planted in their forest to decrease erosion and to keep it a unique and inviting learning space. Students of the school planted the original forest in 1990 and, over the years, a number of trees were removed due to disease and/or pests.

For videos of past school projects check out the ABCA YouTube Channel at this link:

These Ausable Bayfield watershed schools are eligible to take part in the contest: Huron Centennial; Seaforth; St. Columban; St. James; St. Patrick’s (Dublin); Bluewater Coast; St. Boniface; Wilberforce; Grand Bend; Our Lady of Mount Carmel; Central Huron Secondary School; Clinton; Huron Christian; St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School; St. Joseph’s (Clinton); Adelaide W.G MacDonald; Bosanquet Central; East Williams; Exeter Elementary; Precious Blood; South Huron District High School; McGillivray Central; North Middlesex District Secondary School; Parkhill West Williams; Sacred Heart; and Stephen Central.

To learn more, or to apply, visit the website at this web page:


public health  

The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.

“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.

For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit:

Spring Tree Planting 

Local landowners continue to plant tens of thousands of trees each year. By planting trees, they build on a long legacy of tree planting in Ausable and Bayfield River watersheds. In 2021, the 75th anniversary year for Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), the ABCA’s Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist, Ian Jean, offers a forestry perspective.

“Over the past 75 years, local landowners have planted literally millions of trees,” he said. The result has been a doubling of forest cover since the 1940s.”

Forest cover is still too low in some areas, however. Forest cover averages just 14 per cent according to the most recent Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card. Tree planting can help.

“Tree planting, and conserving and enhancing our forests, is essential for sustaining the productivity of our landscape, water quality and a healthy community,” said Jean. “We hear how trees contribute to cleaner air and water and help to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Perhaps less well known are the human health benefits that trees and forests provide.”

The spring tree order form is available now at

Cost-share funding is available for many projects that provide broader benefits such as field windbreaks, stream buffers and reforestation. ABCA staff work to access funding from government, non-governmental organizations, and industry. Jean encourages interested landowners to give him a call at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 to find out more.

“We are happy to help with project design and access funding for eligible projects,” he said.

Funding programs and amounts vary depending on the type of project and the project location.

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

back alley art  

Central Huron and the Central Huron Business Improvement Area (BIA) invites everyone to take part in their “Back Alley Artist Extravaganza” - a fun and free community activity open to all Huron County residents.

The Back Alley Artist Extravaganza is open to all ages and abilities. Free plywood to paint on, in either 4’x 8’ or 4’x4’ sizes, will be given to anyone that wants to take part and participants can paint whatever they would like as there is no theme. From now until Jan. 22, there will be a sign-up form at the lumber desk at Langford Lumber in Clinton. Once registered Langford’s will supply the plywood and then people can take it home and create a masterpiece. There is lots of plywood, but it is available on a first come, first served basis.

Once their project is complete, deadline Apr. 1, participants are asked to contact Central Huron’s Community Improvement Coordinator, Angela Smith, by calling 519 476-5922 oe via email at

High school construction students will then add a 2’ x 4’ frame to the back for stability. The art pieces will be installed using stakes (like a billboard) and finished pieces will resemble Barn Quilts.

“We hope to receive mural quality artwork from our more experienced artists and exciting finger -painting style exhibits from our youngest artists. Whether it’s a landscape of our town, a graffiti style submission, abstract art or portraiture… all submissions combined will create a kaleidoscope of color for the community,” said Smith. “We are calling all residents, visitors, business owners, seniors and children alike, to paint for us. Participants will be encouraged to gather with their household to create a masterpiece or to go online with friends who are also partaking.”

In the spring, completed projects will be installed in Clinton to create “The Back Alley Art Extravaganza”. This will brighten up areas of the downtown and create an Artists Alley where everyone can show off their talents.

“We have a local business, Miniature Masterpieces, which teaches painting lessons to all ages. They will offer interactive online painting classes to participants that want help to get started. Each week there will be another painting lesson offered online… a ‘Huron County Community Paint Night’,” said Smith. “The paint night will be a mini series that folks can tune-in to weekly. Each episode will include some instruction, question and answer time, as well as a show-and-tell portion so people can be inspired by what others in the community are doing. This way we are engaging each other weekly throughout the winter, facilitating new friendships by connecting socially with others in the community …all while staying safe at home.”

Public art adds tremendous value to a communities’ cultural and economic existence, creating a sense of place, and creates a sense of community pride, noted Smith.

“Please help us engage our entire community in the Art Extravaganza… supporting social engagement and positive mental health while contributing to a unique public art installation. Together (virtually) let’s fill our personal space with light and color, and brighten winter for all, while creating beautiful public art installations,” said Smith.

The Back Alley Art Extravaganza is generously sponsored by Central Huron and Bruce Power.




Bookmark and Share Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol 

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 (currently closed to the public). But where there is wifi, there is an opportunity to time-travel with over 3,000 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.

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This week, we examine some of the more ornate pieces of art in the museum's collection...

Iris Painted vase 

This is an example of an urn shaped vase. It is painted with two clusters of Iris on one side in dark shades of wine, purple, mauve and white, with stems in brown and greens (pictured). On the other side, the Iris is painted in paler shades, predominantly white or cream with mauve shading. Stems and leaves are in shades of brown, yellow and green. The painting on the vase gives a water color effect. The circular base of the vase has a moulded design edging up into a bursting petal effect. Outside edges of the top rim are edged in gold. One of the top extensions has been broken and repaired. The vase was possibly painted by L. Grant. 


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floral urn vase  

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This vase was made by Thomas Forester and Sons (Ltd), Phoenix Works, Longston, Staffordshire Potteries, China and Earthwares (1883-1959). The printed hallmark found on this particular vase was used between 1891-1912. It is an urn shaped vase that was possibly hand-painted. The base, top rim, and both handles are very ornate with raised, moulded design edged in flecks of gold on a green background. The front of the vase has a floral display in blue, dark and light pink, green, and white on a pastel spectrum of yellow, pink and green. The reverse side shows one dark pink flower on similar pastel background as the front.

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Bookmark and Share  PHOTO STORY

Decade retrospective             

Winter hikes on trails at varna an annual tradition 

49414367078_25fe2891c6_k2020 - Approximately 25 intrepid hikers remained undaunted by the wintry weather on Saturday, Jan. 18, to hike Mavis’ Trail and the Taylor Trail near Varna. The annual walk hosted by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) was postponed for one week because of rain, but this week’s snowy conditions made for a beautiful atmosphere in the forest. (Photo by Conrad Kuiper)

39789077393_4002a112a9_k2019 - Sixty people hiked along the Mavis’ Trail, while 20 people enjoyed the shorter more easily accessed Taylor Trail. Conditions were perfect for a walk, as well as being a beautiful day to be outdoors. The trail was in great shape due to the volunteer work of some 30 Trail Blazers lead by Peter Jeffers. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

25837363648_0fb5d93537_k-22018 - It was a typical winter's day in Huron County when the Winter Walk took place on Jan. 13 at the Varna Nature Trails. The Winter Walk lived up to its name, as there were intermittent blasts of snow between rays of sunshine on a very cold day. But the flakes didn’t deter about 35 individuals from taking part in the excursion that for many has become an early January tradition. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

32318127306_c0e84c8cc2_k2017 - The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) welcomed all to their Annual Winter Walk on Saturday, Jan. 14 along the Varna Nature Trails at the Stanley Complex in Varna. About 50 people hiked along the two routes, Mavis’ Trail and the shorter more easily accessed Taylor Trail. Conditions were a bit icy in spots from the recent melt. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

24393959076_5e286f0db0_k2016 - Gayle Detenbeck and Margo Robeson ventured along the Taylor Trail during the annual Winter Walk held on Jan. 16. Twenty people hiked along the Mavis’ Trail, while 30 people enjoyed the shorter more easily accessed Taylor Trail. Conditions were a bit icy following some rain and overnight freezing. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

5401623255_333d9707f8_b 2011 - More than 40 Bayfield and area residents took advantage of a sunny, Sunday, Jan. 30 to enjoy a brisk snowshoe hike through the woods and meadows on the new trails that are being constructed at the Stanley Complex on County Road 3, just west of Varna. Afterwards, they shared a potluck lunch at the Stanley Complex’s pavilion. Bayfield River Valley Trail Association president Dave Gillians, labeled this event, “The first annual Bayfield/Varna Snowshoe Walk and Potluck”. (Photo by Dennis Pal)


Editor's Note: In this ever daily changing world we have this Wednesday morning update from the Trail Association Executive: The Saturday 10 a.m. guided hikes at the Varna Nature Trails (Mavis/Taylor Trails) are suspended for the time being in compliance with the Ontario government stay-at-home order. All trails maintained by the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association IBRVTA) remain open for personal exercise by groups of not more than five people. Please remember to comply with provincial policies and recommendations: maintain 2Ms (6ft) distance, wear a mask when distancing is not possible, stay at home except for work, exercise, or medical reasons. Thank you for your cooperation.

Since 2011, the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) has been hosting a Winter Hike on the two trails at Varna with an official grand opening event held in 2012. Although the annual trek on the trails wasn't held in 2021, due to the lockdown. the Executive of the BRVTA are still offering opportunities to explore the trails. 

Are you interested in a hiking buddy? If you are a new resident or hiker, single hiker, don’t want to hike alone, or would love to meet new people through hiking the BRVTA trails, you can now take advantage of the Hiking Buddy Program they have in place. This new program will enable hikers to connect with others on the trails and is available to all BRVTA members. If interested, or for more information, please send an email to

Especially during a lockdown, spending time outdoors maintains mental health and well-being. The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) is committed to doing our part to help families and friends enjoy the nature that surrounds us. They will continue to offer guided hikes every Saturday at 10 a.m. from now through Feb. 27th at the Varna Nature Trails.

Participants are asked to meet at the Stanley Community Complex, Mill Road (Ontario Rt 3), just west of Varna.

The BRVTA will follow Provincial regulations by keeping the hike groups to not more than 10 people, including the hike leader. If necessary, they will run more than one group. Because indoor gatherings are not currently allowed, meeting and sign-in will be outdoors at the trail head. (Sorry, no washrooms will be available).

Hike leaders will guide a one-hour hike (2.5km) on the Mavis/Taylor nature trails. All are welcome, including dogs on leash. Participants will follow social distancing protocols, so please bring a mask. During the hike, hikers may remove their mask as long as they keep 2Ms (6 ft) distance from other hikers. Hikes will be held in any weather as long as the trail is safe, so please dress appropriately.

If the hike is cancelled, organizers will post that information by 8 a.m. on the day of the hike on the BRVTA Facebook page “Bayfield Trails” and website For questions or more information, contact BRVTA Hike Coordinator Ralph Blasting at or call 519 525-3205.

The Trail maintenance crew will work hard to keep the trails open all winter.

Anyone who enjoys walking the trails but has never got around to joining the Association, might consider that with an affordable $30 annual family membership, they would be making a valuable contribution toward the maintenance of our seven trails, ensuring their viability for the future. Membership funds are also needed for programming and insurance. Special thanks to all of you who have supported the BRVTA through membership; they’ve seen record numbers this past year.

If you already are a member, the BRVTA would love you to refer them to your friends! For a limited time – during January and February – they have a special offer. If you refer three new members during this period, please send the BRVTA an email with the details and you will receive “For the love of Bayfield”, a gorgeous and informative book, written by local historian and one of the founders of the BRVTA, Dave Gillians.

Memberships for 2021 are available through the BRVTA website, Save the receipt, which will give you shopping privileges at the Columbia Sportswear discount store as well as to several other events and programs.

Anyone who would prefer to write a cheque, is asked to please mail it to P.O. Box 531, Bayfield N0M 1G0. 


16118298437_addfcb2512_k2015 - The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) hosted their annual Winter Walk on Jan. 17 along the Varna Nature Trails at the Stanley Complex in Varna. Thirty people took part in the guided hike along Mavis’ Trail, while 20 people enjoyed the shorter more easily accessed Taylor Trail. Six intrepid hikers did both! (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)

6669368771_8b48249c98_k2012 - On the morning of Jan. 7 the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association volunteers learned how much their efforts were appreciated by both the communities of Varna and Bayfield when over 100 people came out to the Grand Opening of the Varna Nature Trails.(Photo by Melody Falconer-Pounder)  





PIXILATED — image of the week


Pioneer Park...By Jack Pal"

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








Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 was another one of those days that people will say do you remember where you were and what you were doing when the President of the United States incited an insurrection at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.?

While I was watching pictures of members of congress hiding in the gallery and then later listened to them recount how they feared for their lives listening to the sounds of gun shots, flash bombs and breaking glass I couldn’t help but think about the students and teachers that have experienced such similar terror over the past several years. I apparently was not alone as this came across my social media feed – author unknown:

Dear Congress - Just lock the door, dim the lights, and don’t make a sound. Maybe they will move on to the next room. Sincerely - the entire K to 12 student body

Perhaps the next time congress is faced with changes to gun laws or school safety they will harken back to their first-hand experiences of Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 and vote accordingly. – Melody

P.S. Dear USA – Sending our thoughts and prayers for a peaceful transition of power in the days leading up to Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 – Sincerely – the world







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Breeze Committee:Mike Dixon, John Pounder, Dennis Pal, Melody Falconer-Pounder