Bookmark and Share   May 13, 2020   Vol. 11 Week 20 Issue 566

order by tonight at 11 p.m. for Friday's farmers' market

The Bayfield Farmers' Market opens for the season on Friday, May 15.

During the 2020 season, the market will operate an online store with designated pick up or delivery to ensure the safety of customers and vendors. Vendors returning for the opening week include: CedarVilla Angus Farms, Firmly Rooted Farm, Red Cat Farm and Bakery, Shopbike Coffee Roasters and Petojo Food and Catering and Culture Shock Kombucha. Other well-known vendors, including Bayfield Berry Farm, will join in the coming weeks. 

Market pick-up hours will be 3-5 p.m. every Friday. The pick-up location is the parking area on the north side of Clan Gregor Square.

Orders can be placed on the market's new online marketplace: All orders must be placed by 11 p.m. on Wednesday. Customers of Firmly Rooted Farm are asked to place orders directly on their online store by Tuesdays at 8

Customers with a last name beginning with initials A-M are asked to pick up in the first hour (3-4 p.m.) and N-Z in the second hour (4-5 p.m.).

Delivery within 15 KMs of Bayfield is available for a flat fee of $5.

The market pick-up site and delivery service will follow all health and safety guidelines required by Huron Perth Public Health and Farmers' Markets Ontario.

Walk the treadmill or dance in the living room for Dog Guides 


The Lions Foundation of Canada’s PetValu Walk for Dog Guides has been a long-standing tradition for the Bayfield Lions’ Club and has always been popular with village and area residents. But like so many things these days, the walk has been considerably changed this year. Due to COVID-19, people aren’t able to walk as a group together but since the need for service dogs continues to grow, there are two ways that individuals can still assist with this great cause.

The first suggestion is to participate in the Virtual Walk set up through PetValu by completing three easy steps - register, walk virtually and share.

For anyone interested in this option here is the information: Register for the PetValu Virtual Walk for Dog Guides and create a team (of one or more participants) at Anyone who wishes to do so can create a team representing the Bayfield Lions’ Club.

“This will enable you to invite people to participate as a part of your virtual team similar to how you would invite them to sponsor your usual physical walk. The creation of teams allows us to track donations and walkers associated with our very own Bayfield walk,” explained Jack Pal, of the Bayfield Lions’ Club.

On May 31st, people can show their support for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides by going for a “virtual” walk by doing something physically active while practicing social distancing. Examples include: a walk around the block, running on a treadmill at home, dancing in the living room, lifting some weights or jumping on a trampoline.

Participants are invited to share photos and videos of what they choose to do for the PetValu Virtual Walk: @LFCDogGuides @PetValu #VirtualWalkforDogGuides This way organizers can see what people chose to do and share these ideas within the community.

The second suggestion is to simply donate.

“If you prefer not to walk literally or virtually you can donate by E-transfer to the Bayfield Lions’ Club at ,” said Pal.

Alternatively, cheques can be mailed, payable to the Lions Foundation of Canada, to Bayfield Lions, 6 Municipal Road, P.O. Box 2107, Bayfield, ON N0M 1G0. In either case please indicate that the donation is on behalf of the Virtual Dog Guide Walk.

“We realize this is a time of concern for all of us, so we really do appreciate any contribution you are able to make at this time,” concluded Pal.

For further information please call Karen Scott at 226 441-2042.

Fitness classes resume via YouTube and instructor sandy

Anyone missing familiar fitness classes that need a little motivational push to get up and move during social distancing, can now watch Sandy Scotchmer, of Bayfield via YouTube as she has posted two cardio classes converted from DVD.

Here is the link:

The classes were recorded by Scotchmer about five years ago for Snowbirds leaving for warmer climates during the winter months. At the time, participants wanted to maintain their level of cardio training and Scotchmer was asked if she could record classes. Rising to the challenge, she approached Pat and Steve Baker with The Virtual High School (VHS) to see if they could help with recording the classes.

“Thankfully, VHS jumped on the idea wholeheartedly and the rest is history!” said Scotchmer.

She added, “We invite you to click on the link and enjoy two cardio classes - perform one class or two, it’s up to you. Remember to work at your own pace and stretch after cool down!”

A Letter from Lockdown in Soller, Mallorca, Spain 

Bayfield residents Gary and Kate Lloyd-Rees are currently in Soller, Mallorca one of the Balearic Islands (which are part of Spain), under a government decreed COVID-19 lockdown, from where they sent this update on May 11.

49879996326_ea410cd600_kThis week in Soller, outside bars and restaurants can open at 50 per cent capacity maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres between tables. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

Today, Monday, is our 58th day of the lockdown under the “State of Alarm” that came into effect across mainland Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands on March 15th. The “State of Alarm” has now been extended four times and the current extension is due to end on May 24th – the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has indicated that he will seek further extensions into late June or beyond until the de-escalation process is complete…
On Day 49 we were finally allowed out to walk together in the timeslots allotted to our age group: between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon or between 7-8 p.m. – we have been taking advantage of this daily.

As mentioned in last week’s “letter”, on May 4th, all of Spain’s regions entered Phase 0 (a handful of small islands started at Phase 1) of its de-escalation plan. Small businesses (<400 sq. m. (4,300 sq. ft.)) could open by appointment and customers could pick up restaurant orders (delivery was already allowed). To progress between phases requires a region to meet over 60 health criteria including a sustained reduction in infections and sufficient spare hospital beds and ICU capacity.

Today, several regions entered Phase 1 - including the Balearics. The map of Spain shows which regions are now in Phase 1 and which stayed in Phase 0 for at least another week (this included the regions of Madrid, Malaga, and Granada). Additionally, several regions are moving to Phase 1 at a sub-region (local “health department” level) – typically, these regions’ cities (e.g. Barcelona, Valencia) are staying at Phase 0 and the surrounding less populated areas are moving to Phase 1. This sub-region approach is quite different to the single approach in Ontario; this is like the Huron Perth Public Health area moving to Phase 1 whilst the GTA stayed at Phase 0. In total, about half the population of Spain have moved to Phase 1 and half remain in Phase 0 for at least a further week.

49880278612_0f21855c33_kThe couple can now go out when they want as long as they have a purpose other than just for a walk or exercise for which they have to use the 10 a.m. to noon or 7-8 p.m. time slots for their age group. (Photo by Gary Lloyd-Rees)  

So, what changes for us under Phase 1?

All “small” businesses, which covers all businesses in Soller, can now open without appointments at 30 per cent capacity; groups of up to 10 can gather in an outside bar or restaurant, or in homes (keeping a physical distance of 2 metres); travel to see friends or family within the same region (in theory that means anywhere throughout the Balearic Islands) is allowed; outside bars and restaurants can open at 50 per cent capacity; and multiple people from the same household can now travel together in a car. All these activities come with a plethora of health protocols. The previous timetable for exercise and walks remains; however, if you are outside of your home to do one of the things now allowed there is no timeslot, distance, or time limit to abide by. We can go out when we want as long as we have a purpose other than just for a walk or exercise for which we have to use our 10 a.m. to noon or 7-8 p.m. time slots. Because the rules are so complex there remain bizarre anomalies - for example, parents could take up to eight of their children to a bar for the whole day but cannot walk together with one child for exercise.

Other changes which don’t impact us include: hotels and rental accommodation can open although communal areas remain closed; travel to a second home within the same region is allowed; open air sports facilities (except swimming areas but including golf courses) for sports with a maximum of two players where 2 metres physical distance can be maintained can open; museums, libraries, and places of worship can open at 30 per cent capacity; and cultural shows and events can take place at 30 per cent capacity (max 30 inside, 200 outside).

Map EP-  

It remains to be seen how many restaurants and hotels do actually re-open: there are no tourists to cater to as nobody from outside the Balearics can get here - more on this topic next week.

Phase 1

Although the lockdown rules are relaxing, the policing of them is not – almost 1 million fines have been issued and over 8,000 arrests have been made across Spain. At a minimum fine of 600 Euros, that amounts to the equivalent of at least $1 Billion Canadian in fines so far!

What happens after Phase 1?

Each region (or health department area) will spend a minimum of two weeks in Phase 1 before progressing to each of Phases 2, 3 and finally to Phase 4 - designated the “nueva normalidad” (the “new normal”). A region can reach Phase 4 by June 22nd at the earliest and the Balearics are likely to be one of the first regions to get there.

How are things in Spain and Mallorca?

Last week’s “letter” reported that Spain was down to about 1,000 new infections and about 160 deaths each day (half the level of the previous week) - in the past few days, the numbers being reported are now down further to 600 daily infections and 140 daily deaths. In the Balearics, total identified cases have reached just under 2,000 in total – unfortunately, there have been over 200 deaths.

An increased number of daily inter-island flights between the Balearics start today; however, a return to a regular “new normal” flight schedule to mainland Spain will not happen until a departure and arrival region have both reached Phase 4 (i.e. June 22nd at the earliest). Regular flights between EU countries (and the UK) are likely to only take place after domestic flights have been re-established.

We continue to be safe and well and continue working on the logistics of making our way home – we now have supplies of masks and hand sanitizer which are readily available at government controlled maximum prices (96 cents per mask). We are hoping to take an “irregular” flight routing home when one becomes available – in the meantime, we remain grateful to our friends back home in the Bayfield area for your best wishes and words of support.

See you back in Bayfield. Stay safe and well everybody.


 delivery service 

The community continues to come together to serve each other during this time of crisis.

Lake Huron Chrysler in Goderich, in conjunction with The Little Inn of Bayfield, is putting a van on the road with a driver to pick up and deliver groceries to people from Bayfield Foodland and Pharmasave Michael’s Pharmacy’s Bayfield location.

There will be no charge for this service. Please contact Dean O’Brien at 519 525-0420 or email for more information.

Food Bank

Bayfield Area Food Bank (BAFB) can provide emergency food for free.

Anyone who has had their income reduced or anyone struggling to meet their food needs is asked to call 519 955-7444 for assistance.

BAFB has prepackaged boxes on hand and arrangements can be made for free delivery.

Recycling Program 

The wheelie bins are coming! The wheelie bins are coming!

The Bluewater Recycling Association (BRA) has begun distribution of wheelie bins in Zurich. Delivery to residences in Bayfield and the surrounding rural area will follow. Homeowners along the lakeshore can expect their bins later this month.

Residents are reminded that wheelie bins cannot be used for curbside collection until the program starts between June 1-8 depending on scheduled recycling pick-up dates.


patriotic masksLeslie Bella continues to make homemade masks, like these with Canadian themes. She donates them through Michael's Pharmacy for those who need them. She creates two designs depending on materials available - some have straps, and some have elastic. (Submitted photo)  

A number of very generous people have signed up with Home4Good as volunteers to help people with their shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who is self-isolating or otherwise advised not to shop, is encouraged to contact Leslie Bella at Home4Good, or text 519 955-1531, and Home4Good will assign someone to help.

Home4Good has tracked advice for safe shopping, and posted suggestions on their Facebook page Home4GoodinBayfield. This information suggests that the use of homemade face masks is recommended when shopping, or when visiting medical services, particularly for those of people over 65 or with underlying health conditions.


Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce has undertaken various efforts to support local business, this latest effort, “Shoreline ToGo”, crosses all local municipal and county “borders” to support local food and beverage providers with a single online hub of delivery and takeout options open to residents.

Launched Apr. 20, already has 32 food and beverage businesses listed, a number that grows daily. Published with address, phone number, takeout-delivery menu and hours of operation, restaurants, farm-gate operations and craft beer, wine and cider producers are ready and open to serve. Residents in Lambton Shores, South Huron, Bluewater and North Middlesex can check out the offerings online, order takeout or delivery, and help support the same businesses who have contributed so much to these communities over the years through donations and sponsorship.

Restaurants, farm-gate and beverage producers throughout the market area – Bluewater - Lambton Shores, South Huron, North Middlesex - are encouraged to visit to register and showcase their delivery or takeout options. There is no cost to any business to participate and the process is the completion of a simple online form. Any business needing resources or assistance can contact Chamber Manager Susan Mills at

Throughout this area, restaurants, farm-gate and craft beverage providers have contributed hugely to the local economy and the livability of towns and villages. Recovery from the Covid-19 crisis will be in large part energized restaurant owners, chefs, kitchen staff and servers, and the support of local customers.

Garden Club

Memberships are important to the Bayfield Garden Club (BCG). Membership fees go a long way in funding the work the BGC does to beautify the village as well as covering meeting expenses.

People are invited to support the BCG by renewing their membership for 2020.

The membership fee is $10. Cheque made payable to Bayfield Garden Club may be mailed to C. Barrett, 32 Thimbleweed Drive, Bayfield ON N0M 1G0. Please include your name, address and email address with the cheque.  Cheques can also be dropped off at the above location. Please email to make arrangements. 

After that a membership card will be either mailed or delivered to your home. The BCG appreciates the community’s continued support.

Centre for the Arts 

Bayfield Centre for the Arts (BCA) would like to invite people to participate in a Special Project set to the theme: “Navigating the year 2020 - events, people and places of Bayfield”.

The year 2020 is shaping up to be a new and unusual reality for the world. BCA has begun a project of collecting photographs of moments in time that will act as a retrospective of the COVID pandemic and emerging behaviours across the village and surrounding area.

“We are collecting a variety of photographs of people, pets, wildlife, parks, trails, lake/rivers and buildings. Photos can include landscapes, waterscapes, portraits (candid and posed), still life photos and more. We hope to document this significant, historical human experience through visual storytelling,” President of the Bayfield Centre for the Arts, Leslee Squirrell.

Anyone, professional or novice using smart phone or professional camera, can submit a photo(s) one time or multiple times over the course of the collection period - Jan. 1-Dec. 30, 2020. The photos should reflect aspects of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which are important to capture for future generations and family story telling. A focus on positive actions and beauty are encouraged.

High resolution photos are best for reproduction. The collection will be curated into the “Special Project” and made available in the spring of 2021. Submission does not guarantee use for the Special Project.

By submitting to the collection, the Photographer grants to the BCA rights to their photographs (if selected) for: Reproduction of selected photos as images in their Special Project; subsequent sale proceeds (if any) to the BCA for fundraising and community purposes.

The BCA recognize that except as identified above, the photographs and rights therein, including copyright, remain the sole and exclusive property of the photographer. Any additional use by the BCA requires the prior written agreement of the photographer (with terms to be separately negotiated) between BCA and the Photographer.

How to submit your photo: Give your file and photo a name; include your name and a brief description of the image.

If a participant’s own email address is a GMAIL account they can submit directly to and include the above information in the body of the email.

For any other email address account participants can submit through the web-based tool and send photos to Please wait for the verification code on this website, prior to exiting. The appropriate info can be included in the message section.


faithwritingFaith's story - the Bayfield Historical Society is asking that the children sign their artwork or story on their cover page and on the back cover list their age and school. (Submitted photo)  

Youngsters are unleashing their creativity in a variety of ways while staying at home during the pandemic. And a local group would like to capture this creativity for posterity. Especially the stories and artwork that the children, ages 12 and under, are producing right now while they are truly living through history.

The Bayfield Historical Society (BHS) wants to help preserve these memories of what life during the pandemic was like for children.

According to Barb Durand, “The Bayfield Historical Society is asking children in Bayfield and surrounding area to submit written stories and or their artwork for a future collection. We will display this collection in our windows (at the Archives on Main Street) when we are allowed back on the street. Either a scanned copy or their original artwork will be kept at the archives for a future collection. We may also use the material to create a printed book.”

Durand, who looks after publications for the BHS, notes that, this is not a contest but a collection that will document the children’s stories. She asks that the children sign their artwork or story on their cover page and on the back cover list their age and school.

“We will ask for the submissions when the time comes for us to re-open. We are documenting history. Thank-you and wishing all families to stay safe and healthy,” Durand concluded.

For more information on this BHS project please email





  recalling a near sinking and fire in the  days before Covid-19 

91133211_686996472071476_5476467933901225984_nPeter Keightley has been keeping a journal of his travels since the fall of 2019 when he and his wife, Erika, embarked on a working honeymoon working aboard Super Yachts. The Bayfield Breeze has invited him to share some of this log with our readers. (Photos courtesy Peter Keightley)

A Note from the Editor: Peter Keightley and Erika Smith were married on Aug. 24, 2019 in Bayfield. In early September, they embarked on a working honeymoon travelling the world aboard Super Yachts, as chef and stewardess respectively. Peter, will be familiar to Bayfield residents as the founder of both Drift the restaurant on the village’s Main Street and Drift the lobster boat used as a charter in the summer months out of Bayfield Harbour. While on this adventure Peter has been keeping a journal and the Bayfield Breeze invited him to share some of this log with our readers during this time of uncertainty in the world…

On Friday, May 8, something amazing happened. We received permission from the Cypriot government that we would be allowed to dock, on land, in Limassol. And so, aboard this boat non-stop for 62 days; one Atlantic crossing, two weeks through the Med and four weeks at anchor, we finally tied up. We're now docked in a shipyard, waiting to leave and explore the area, but at least permitted to stretch our legs in the shipyard and surrounding waterfront.

68ba7b2e-a8c3-44c9-bae6-c034ccae64c1 After over two months at sea Peter and Erika Keightley are now able to stretch their legs out and walk ashore in Cyprus after being permission to dock on May 8.

With access to land, a few things happened. Hope. Renewed ambition and planning for the future. Better, more reliable, access to 4G. We were bummed out initially not to go home, but it has forced our hand to think of other ways in which we can spend our free time. Erika and I, along with many other crew members, have been moving and jumping along to Sandy Scotchmer’s Bayfield fitness videos - she is now our boat’s token fitness celebrity- and judging by our wheezing following a 15-minute segment, is in far better shape than all of us combined!

Normally this time of year I'd be down in the marina getting boats ready for launch; painting anti-fouling, patching fibreglass or sanding wood in anticipation of varnishing on a warm day. I also prepared mentally for something else, something that has been quintessential to my time in Bayfield…storytelling season! Whether it was on a sailboat, around the campfire, or bobbing at sunset with folks on the Lobster boat, storytelling was a pivotal part of life back in Bayfield. It has gotten me thinking about what stories I would tell now…about Erika and I… and what would be worthy enough to share. We both unanimously agree that the tale that deserves mention is about the first job we worked together aboard a catamaran, in extreme weather, on the Mediterranean, and the subsequent sinking and fire that ensued.

Following our marriage Erika and I knew we were going to travel overseas extensively. My parents had done so after they got married; they traveled from England to South Africa in an old Landrover. It was our hope to do something equally as stellar. I wanted to expose Erika to the wonderful world of sailing and to all the places I had traveled over the course of my yachting career. As fate would have it, Erika and I were contacted by former clients of mine that I had cheffed for in Sardinia, Italy. They were building a large sailing cat in France and were seeking a Chef and Stewardess to join as crew. We considered this offer but the real turning came when they sent us an advance of funds at the beginning of the summer. Money that could help make our special day happen. And so, it was. We accepted the job offer (and the money) and had to do the job! After a most spectacular wedding, we left Bayfield, our dog Scout, llamas Stephanie and Charles and hopped on a plane across the pond to begin our adventure…

96512895_330515507921000_4101505115536490496_nThis image of Peter Keightley was taken late last year. He, and his wife Erika, have braved some stormy seas on their adventure not only maneuvering through the COVID-19 crisis but flood and fire as well.

When we arrived in France we were greeted with chaos. We walked around the marina and quickly found the boat, the largest catamaran in the marina. Workers were scrambling about it, jumping on and off, screams erupting everywhere in French and Spanish. We tentatively took off our shoes and walked aboard. I left Erika gob struck on the aft deck amidst the chaos as I climbed to the top deck and tried to find out who was in charge. Nobody knew. Eventually a bewildered man, skinny, tall, suntanned and bald, said in a very thick French accent, “bienvenue aboard”.

He ushered us around, explaining that the boat was in desperate need of repairs, showing us to our cabin, that had all the flooring removed, and into a galley, that had goops of old lettuce melting in the fridge and a stinking bag of garbage in the middle. The previous Chef and Stewardess, though brought on temporarily to bridge our arrival, hadn’t been able to survive the weeks prior and had long vanished.

Apparently, the owners had been far too harsh and demanding, and it looked as though the boat, judging by all the repairs, had been launched prematurely without the appropriate sea trials conducted. We got straight down to work, and first found our cabin and cleaned it, and then set our sights on the trashed galley, in an attempt to bring order back to a boat torn apart. We were jet lagged and beyond tired but kept working till late. No sooner had we laid our heads down in our cabin, then the boat’s engines started up. We ran up on deck to see land disappearing as we motored out of the marina into the pitch darkness of the Mediterranean Sea.

One month and two thousand miles across the Mediterranean later I awoke in the middle of the night to alarms blaring. I ran to the bridge to see what was the issue. The starboard hull bilge alarm was informing us that we were taking on water. A quick check in the starboard hull lifting up a floorboard, confirmed salt water pouring in rapidly. We were sinking. It was already four feet deep and rising. The captain and I looked at each other and without saying a word began lifting up every single floor panel we could, desperately trying to find the source of the water. I ran over to the port side hull to grab a tool kit and a flashlight.

On my way past I found a sleepy Erika popping her head up from the saloon couch. “Are we sinking?” she sweetly asked. “No honey, go back to sleep,” I responded, gently brushing her hair as she laid back down.

The seas had been high and the wind outside was howling at 40 knots. The boat was being jerked and tossed around incessantly. Even just a few minutes standing up was physically demanding and fully disorientating in the darkness. I fumbled my way through the boat to a very frustrated and manic captain. The source of the leak had not been found and the water was now spilling above the five feet deep bilges; the master cabin floor now had a few inches of seawater soaking the carpets. We estimated we had taken on at least 4,000 litres and rising. We managed to remove one last panel that went beneath the master cabin bed, and there in plain sight was a one inch open through hole with seawater rushing in. To my surprise the captain stripped naked, took a big breath, and pencil jumped into the bilge. He bunged the hole underwater, then resurfaced.

At this point the only reason we hadn’t capsized with the extra ballast was owing to being heeled hard to port with the wind in the reefed sails keeping us balanced upright. We supposed that the hull slamming down repeatedly wave after large wave had caused the knot reader to pop out. Yet another defect in the boat, and an almost fatal one. The bilge pumps eventually got the water out, and we had no choice but to continue on to our destination another 150 miles away.

When dawn broke we were within sight of land, the same port we had left two months past, and the wind and waves were calming down. Erika was very surprised to learn how close we had come to sinking the night before!

We got the fenders and dock lines ready and prepared to come into port. Once we were all tied up, the captain, Erika, and myself jumped on shore and kissed land. We then set about stripping the starboard hull of all its furniture, carpet and all the floor panels and rinsed everything off. By mid afternoon, sleep deprived and fairly bruised up, we had some much-deserved drinks on the dock. After dinner and more drinks, we went down into the galley and searched around for dessert. We found some ice cream, and while were all indulging, the now familiar sound of the ships alarm erupted again. This time it was accompanied by grey smoke. We were on fire.

Erika, out of all of us, was the first to react. Likely owing to our advanced fire fighting training at Georgian College, she leapt into action and grabbed a fire extinguisher from the main saloon. The captain and myself switched off all systems and ran around attempting to locate the source. Opening the starboard engine compartment, we were blasted with thick smoke. Erika tossed the captain the fire extinguisher and he blasted away. We then shut the compartment and activated the emergency CO2 cylinders. We retreated onto the dock and waited for the smoke to clear. After what seemed like forever we carefully re-boarded and searched for the source of the fire. We couldn’t tell where it came from, but assumed it was electrical owing to salt water corrosion from the near sinking off the southern coast of France.

A week later in mid-October of last year, Erika and I were boarding a flight from Paris to Edinburgh. We got a call from the boat owners…our employment was terminated effective immediately. The catamaran was now under investigation by the manufacturer as well as a team of the yacht owners' lawyers. And so, the next chapter of our adventure began, and as we found our seats and prepared for take off, we pondered what would be next …

United way requests financial support for Urgent Needs Fund  

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected vulnerable individuals and families across Perth and Huron Counties. A stark reminder of how profound the effects are is reflected in the initial response to United Way Perth-Huron (UWPH) opening its COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund directly to individuals through a partnership with Social Services in Perth and Huron. In the first four days of applications beginning May 4, the fund received so many requests UWPH is now looking to raise more money to meet demand.

“Whether it’s people looking for help paying for groceries, diapers or medication the early response has been substantial,” said UWPH Executive Director Ryan Erb. “We’re glad people know about the program and are reaching out for support, but it also points to the seriousness of the situation many find themselves in. We’re asking those who can to please give or give again to the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund.”

Beyond individual needs, UWPH has been working with existing partners and other non-profits in the community to shepherd organizations and the people they serve through the current health crisis. The strong relationships UWPH built within the local non-profit community allowed the organization to respond quickly to community needs.

In the past six weeks alone UWPH provided over $90,000 for initiatives from 13 local organizations including; the Community Table in Exeter, the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, Family Services Perth-Huron, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH), Huron & Area Search and Rescue, the John Howard Society, OneCare, the Ontario Student Nutrition Program, Huron Safe Homes for Youth, the Town of St. Marys, the Emily Murphy Centre and Ritz Lutheran Villa. More announcements are coming soon. For funded program details visit

Programs and services are just part of UWPH’s efforts to help local communities get through the current crisis. Volunteers have also been working to update information of almost 900 records for the 211 database ensuring people have access to the latest information about help in their community. UWPH also teamed with local municipalities on a web portal called; a one-stop reference for people looking for information and ways to help and launched the Huron-Perth COVID-19 Resource Group on Facebook. Moderated by Perth and Huron librarians and other dedicated volunteers, the group serves as a gathering place for people to find help, read information on COVID-19 from credible sources like HPPH, share inspiring stories and stay connected with other local people during isolation. In the true spirit of community, UWPH also hosts a weekly virtual meeting for local non-profits leaders to connect, problem solve and share information.

“UWPH has always worked hard to address the most pressing issues affecting our region,” added Erb. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot in our communities. What hasn’t changed is the abundance of good people and organizations working to help the most vulnerable. UWPH is proud to be part of this effort and we’ll continue working to offer compassion, caring and resources where they’re needed most.”

The COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund assists organizations helping individuals and families in need. Organizations apply to UWPH and a volunteer committee reviews each application quickly so funds are distributed as soon as possible. For applications go to To donate to UWPH’s COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund, go to or call the United Way offices at 519 271-7730 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon and 1-5 p.m.

gateway to study how covid-19 impacts rural healthcare

As the impact of COVID-19 in the community grows, so does the demand for social services. United Way Perth Huron offers funding through the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund to help ensure not-for-profits across Perth and Huron can increase program capacity, expand the reach of existing programs and shift the way they provide support in this time of need.

Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) based in Goderich is benefiting from a grant provided through the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund. Gateway has been actively conducting health research in rural communities for 10 plus years. In general, the social, economic and psychological impacts of this pandemic will be unprecedented, but the toll on rural healthcare facilities as well as their dedicated healthcare workers could be dire. Gateway would like to focus its immediate attention on conducting relevant research and data collection which will capture the local needs and issues of rural hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities. Doctors, nurses, PSWs, paramedics, and other healthcare providers are preparing for and treating COVID-19 patients while putting themselves, and perhaps their families, at great risk. They are experiencing uncertainty, risk and challenge like never before. High rates of anxiety, depression and burnout are expected.

In collaboration with Gateway’s partners at Guelph University, this proposed research project will focus on the current impact of COVID-19 within the local rural healthcare system. The well-being of healthcare workers, both professionally and personally is important. Gateway would like to receive feedback from these healthcare workers right now while their experiences are fresh, and they watch the evolution of this 2020 health crisis. A short questionnaire will be developed and distributed to rural healthcare workers. The goal of the research will be to interpret and integrate the information provided so that community health partners can collectively aim towards solutions or recommendations that are right for their facilities, health-care staff and rural communities.

Gateway and the United Way have well-aligned goals in response to the current situation: identifying the critical needs and issues in communities and developing shared solutions as the impact of COVID-19 in the local communities grows.

helping seniors and patients stay virtually connected  

The McCall MacBain Foundation has donated $35,000 to provide iPads for the use of residents in long-term care homes, hospitals, retirement homes and hospices across Huron County. The endeavor is being facilitated by the Gateway Centre for Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway), and the devices are currently being distributed to residences and institutions across the County.

“Having been raised in Huron County, the health and well-being of my home community is a priority,” said Marcy McCall MacBain, who co-founded the McCall MacBain Foundation with her husband, John. “We are grateful to the healthcare workers and Gateway Centre for Excellence in Rural Health, and are honored to be working together to ensure this difficult situation of physical distancing becomes just a little bit more manageable.”

Gateway, with the help of their students, is ensuring iPads are programmed properly and distributed to the homes, residences and hospitals where they will be used. Popular and user-friendly apps such as Skype, FaceTime and Zoom will be available on all of the devices and will make it easy for staff to support residents, and for patients and residents to stay connected with family members and other essential supports.

“Currently, we are all feeling the effects of isolation while following government directions to stay at home as much as possible. There is nothing more heart breaking than to think of seniors in long-term care homes and patients in hospitals, isolated because of COVID-19 and unable to connect with their loved ones,” said Gwen Devereux, president of the Board of Directors of Gateway.

“This is a wonderful example of giving back to your community and we thank the McCall MacBain Foundation for helping our community when it is needed,” continued Gwen. “It is so important for patients and residents to have the ability to see and speak directly, even if virtually, with their children, grandchildren, friends and family during this pandemic. Gateway is honored to have the opportunity to partner with the McCall MacBain Foundation and make this a reality.”

Early recipients of the iPads are thrilled to put them to good use.
General Manager at Maplewood Manor in Seaforth, Jennifer Bennett said, “Maplewood Manor staff and residents would like to thank the McCall MacBain Foundation for the donation of iPads. This generous gift will go a long way to keeping our residents connected during these difficult times. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

General Manager of Goderich Place Retirement Residence, Brittany Hamilton, added, “Goderich Place would like to extend our extreme gratitude and appreciation for the very generous donation of iPads; we feel so fortunate and are very grateful! These iPads will allow for residents to have more FaceTime calls with family and friends in order to stay connected during these difficult times.”

The hope is that the arrival of these iPads will free up staff time and enable patients and residents the opportunity to connect with loved ones and the world. Gateway also believes that these iPads will support people's well-being long beyond the end of COVID-19.
“Anything we can do at this time to help our health care workers is important, and please know we appreciate all you are doing to help us get through this,” said Devereux.
Born in rural Ontario and raised on a farm near Walton, Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain is a Found-er, Director and the Vice-Chair of the McCall MacBain Foundation. She is currently a Senior Re-search Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine and the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.

The McCall MacBain Foundation’s mission is to improve the welfare of humanity by providing scholarships and other educational opportunities that nurture transformational leadership, and by investing in evidence-based strategies to address climate change, preserve our natural envi-ronment, and improve health outcomes.

The Foundation believes in the power of education, and scholarships in particular, to transform lives and in turn transform communities to be fairer, healthier, and more prosperous for all; that climate change is the single most pressing problem facing the planet and that people must all do their part to address it; and in an evidence-based approach to health care that will lead to more efficient use of resources and greater impact for communities.


public health  

The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated daily with confirmed case counts received within the last 24 hours.

“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:

alzheimer Society 

Join the Alzheimer Society of Huron County for their free online, presentation: “8 A’s of Dementia” on Thursday, May 21.

This educational presentation explains common cognitive changes people with dementia experience. Because these changes happen inside the brain, they can be hard to recognize and understand. In the “8 A’s of Dementia”, facilitators will describe these changes as a shift in perception - a shift in the way many people with dementia see and navigate the world.

There will be two presentations one at 10 a.m. and a second at 2 p.m.

To participate in this presentation using Zoom, please call the Alzheimer Society at 519 482-1482, 1-800-561-5012 or email:

turtle facts quiz 

How many species of turtles are in Ontario? What is one of the biggest threats to turtles? What can you do to help turtles? The answers to these and other questions are part of a Turtle Quiz. The quiz and contest are part of a local social media awareness campaign in recognition of World Turtle Day on Saturday, May 23.

The Ten Days of Turtle Facts campaign starts on social media on May 13 and runs until May 22. All those who complete the quiz, through a survey link to be posted at, will be entered into a random draw for one of two turtle prize packs. The winners are to be announced on May 23.

“We want to make learning about turtles, fun,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds technician at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).

The daily posts, the quiz, and the contest prizes are ways to make this year’s World Turtle Day more engaging than ever, she said. Social media posts each day will be a way for everyone to learn about why we need to protect our turtles and how.

“It’s important to think about Ontario turtle species on World Turtle Day, and to learn what we can do to help these animals all year long,” said Brock.

To find out about the contest visit the website at this link:

May is an important time of year to begin thinking about turtles, according to Brock. Turtles often have to cross roads in search of mates, new habitat and suitable nesting areas. Most turtle species nest from late May to early July so people can help to protect them especially at this time by driving slowly, carefully, and being extra cautious about turtles on the road.

ABCA onliNE learning

Students may be out of the classroom at the moment but there are educational activities online that can help to keep learning going. These are new and creative ways to connect to the natural world including some activities that can be done indoors.

To help keep children and youth engaged and learning while at home, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has compiled online science lesson plans and links to other educational resources.

The ABCA website at is full of scientific, local and up-to-date information on soil, water, and habitat for living things in the Ausable Bayfield watershed. The Teachers’ Resources-Lesson Plans web page has new links to ideas and activities to help learning about nature at home. There are activities and lesson plans that help to meet Ontario Curriculum expectations for every grade from Grade One through 12.

The link to teaching and learning resources is at:
Conservation educators at ABCA are not currently delivering student field trips or in-school programs. This is part of the nation-wide response to COVID-19 as school buildings and child care facilities are closed during the current pandemic.

For Notices of Service Disruptions visit this link:

International Year of Plant Health 

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. Plant Health Year raises global awareness on how to protect plant health, protect water and soil, and to address hunger, poverty, and economic development. The slogan for this special year is “Protecting Plants, Protecting Life”.

During this exceptional year, and to start a new decade (the 2020s), many people are looking to green their yards. Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s Green Team is sharing ten tips (one for each year of the new decade!) on what and how to plant to build plant health:

1. Plant native species. They are more apt to survive and thrive, especially during times of extreme weather as the climate continues to change.

2. Consult gardening magazines and newsletters that offer tips such as choosing the right plants and the right sites; not crowding plants; pruning damaged limbs at the correct times; planting varieties that are resistant to diseases; watching for bugs; using yard waste that is fully composted; and keeping a close eye on plants.

3. Plant trees now or plan for the fall planting. If there is no room on the property to plant trees, consider shrubs that will benefit birds and pollinators.

4. Water plants the right amounts at the right times.

5. Use rain barrels to water plants. Capturing rainfall allows for a good source of water for plants to help get through dry periods when plants need water the most.

6. People who have access to digital technology, such as a smart phone, can use software and mobile apps to learn how to prevent and manage plant pests and diseases and to report outbreaks.

7. Control pests with biological practices that don’t kill pollinators such as bees and other beneficial insects and organisms.

8. Help to control the spread of non-native species: If someone has a non-native invasive plant in their yard, remove it to prevent spread using methods such as digging, flower head removal before seed set, or hire a professional. To find out more about invasive plants, visit this PDF file link:

9. By buying food locally and by planting a vegetable garden people can have healthy local food to complement their food purchases, keep their grocery bill down, and reduce their carbon footprint.

10. Donate to permanent local tree planting through

To learn more about the International Year of Plant Health visit: People can also search Twitter, Facebook, and other social media using these hashtags: #PlantHealth and #IYPH2020

COVID-19 Course 

Global learning technology leader D2L announced on March 23 that it is partnering with Bayfield Design to offer an online course on COVID-19 at no cost.

The unique, complimentary course was built by educators and is based on the science behind COVID-19. The course helps learners and educators understand the global pandemic, its risks, and how to effectively manage it. D2L and Bayfield Design are key players in the online education sector and strongly believe they have a duty to help the 850 million students who are out of school worldwide.

The medical community continues to learn about both the virus and the disease as new research and information becomes available. The course gives people the most up-to-date, reliable, scientifically accurate information to limit the spread of misinformation. It also gives strategies for dealing with the pandemic, knowledge about symptoms, tips on proper hygiene, and definitions and proper terminology around the COVID-19 pandemic. Users can test their understanding of the content and bridge any gaps in their own knowledge about COVID-19.

Click on the following link to access this course:

Coping through Covid-19 

eugene_dufourEugene DuFour

Bayfield resident, Eugene Dufour is a clinically trained Individual, Marital and Family Therapist, Bereavement Specialist, Compassion Fatigue Educator and Therapist and a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Facilitator. He presently works as a Psychosocial Spiritual Care Clinician with the Huron Perth Palliative Care Outreach Team.

Dufour was approached by several organizations to provide them with “Reflections” to offer coping techniques through the COVID-19 crisis. He was kind enough to submit these to the Bayfield Breeze and we hope to share them here as space allows.

This week we include two, the first suggests how to look for themes in supporting a suffering person. The second reflection suggests how we can live a deeper life while dealing with pain. 

When Supporting Someone Who is Suffering – Look for Themes

When a person is in the depths of suffering, I find it helpful to search for spiritual strengths that the person may use to cope with the suffering. I do not get overwhelmed with a person’s suffering knowing that my presence, silence and believing in hope provides support and direction.

When a person is sharing a story, I always look for the teaching in the story. I will give feedback and say, “That is a powerful story” or “What is the pearl of wisdom that you take away from that story?”

Take some time reflecting on these spiritual strengths and apply them to a time when you were suffering:

• Forgiveness
• Hope
• Presence
• Silence
• Trust
• Story Telling
• Prayer
• Rituals

When someone is suffering, they want a sense of connection to themselves, a connection to those they love and who love them and a connection to something greater than themselves. Reflecting on spiritual strengths, after you sit with the suffering, can provide a belief that they are not alone in their suffering.

When Dealing with Pain – Become A Lake

Physical, emotional or spiritual pain is difficult to cope with. Many therapists suggest that we “lean into the pain”. Author Mark Nepo in his book, “The Book of Awakening”, tells a story on just how to do this.

“An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

"How does it taste?" the master asked.

“Bitter," spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"

"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.

"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.

"No," said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So, when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things…stop being a glass. Become a lake."

As we struggle with the fear of this pandemic and the pain of suffering reflect on how you can become a larger container and live a deeper life.



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fruit basket of huron    

Pioneer Orchards Indicated Area Ripe for Wineries 


912A8F45C976445F82D17DDAD258F8C0John Whiddon’s apple evaporator plant, nicknamed "The Vap", was located on Chiniquay Street, just south of where The Lake House of Bayfield is located on Main Street today, access was by a laneway where Rosie’s Ice Cream Shoppe now stands. (Photos courtesy Bayfield Historical Society)


 One of the more surprising items in Vincent van Tuyll’s auction of the contents of the “Ridge” in 1841 was 360 bottles of wine. That wine couldn’t have been imported over the rough pioneer roads or shipped to Goderich’s shallow harbor, there had to be vineyards nearby. During its earliest days, Huron County was wine and fruit country.

Vincent was the son of Bayfield’s original land developer, Baron Cornelius van Tuyll, and after deciding that he had better things to do with his time than trying to appease his Canadian creditor, the Canada Company, he auctioned off the contents of his lodge, the “Ridge” which was perched on the northern bank of the Maitland River opposite the Goderich Harbour.

Keith and Jo-ann Homan, the present owners of the “Ridge” claim that there are still descendants of the original grape vines on the property and although they no longer bear fruit, every few years Keith has to hack back vines on the river embankment that are as thick as his arm. Keith also asserts that there were huge fruit orchards that stretched from the Maitland River to the other side of the Goderich Airport. The owners of the property in the late 1800s, the Attrills, even had one of the county’s early apple evaporator plants.

Huron County fruit was recognized internationally. According to the Clinton New Era, on Nov. 10, 1893, “We are pleased to notice that a reward was given at the Chicago World’s Fair to Huron County for apples and plums.”

In recent years, economic development experts have been soil testing and have learned that along the shores of Lake Huron and inland for a few miles, the land and climate are ideal for fruit trees and that this area has terrific potential to be a centre for wine production. Long time Bayfield families are not at all surprised by this discovery because it was not so long ago that apple orchards seemed to cover the land and they will certainly have heard stories about the importance of the apples to the village.

A3FC195421E643C9A4D5C4377FA95944Gemeinhardt’s cider mill was located on the corner of Louisa Street and Charles Street.  



John Whiddon’s apple evaporator plant, nicknamed, “The Vap”, was located on Chiniquay Street.

Before refrigerated shipping, apples needed to be dried in evaporators and packed in barrels before they could be shipped.

According to the Clinton News-Record, Dec. 19, 1907, “The evaporator is the most important industry we have in our village and it is the second largest of the kind in the province. The main building is 42 x 30 feet, the furnace room and dryer is 110 feet long and 26 feet wide and the packing room is 24 x 36 feet, all two storeys high. There are six furnaces, seven peeling machines and slicing and chopping machines.

“The season began Sept. 16 and ended Dec. 14 and during those three months, 200 tons of coal and coke and 40 cords of cordwood were consumed. The output was six carloads of evaporated stock consisting of 3,000 cases of fifty pounds to the case. The evaporator was run day and night and gave employment to thirty-four people.”

According to Harry Baker’s book, “My Memoirs”, “Almost everyone in the village and country in the late 1800s who had apples made a batch of apple butter. Fred Gemeinhardt had the best cider mill in the county and all the farmers for miles brought their apples in to have cider made.”

In the book, “Made in Bayfield: The Work of John Gemeinhardt”, authors Tracy Saunders and Philip Gemeinhardt describe the cider mill operation, ”Hand-written records from Fred’s father, John in 1880, detail that in the spring cider cost 1.5 cents a gallon to have pressed and in the fall of 1880 he switched to charging by the bag full of apples to be pressed, going rate was 7 cents a bag. It appears that he also sold wine at $4.75 a barrel, brandy was 65 cents a quart and cider vinegar was 12 cents a half gallon.”

According to Saunders and Gemeinhardt, “Family stories say that John started the cider mill because he missed his favorite drink from Germany, schnapps, and he set up a still in the boiler room.”

From September until the end of November, “The Vap” ran 24 hours a day and Gemeinhardt’s Cider Mill ran for long hours. The noise of machinery and smell of rotting apples permeated the air and gave the village a distinct perfume.

It wasn’t just apples. According to the Huron Expositor, Oct. 6, 1916, “The Cantelon Brothers, of Clinton, have shipped over 5,000 baskets of plums this season.”

The irony is that for 150 years, Huron County was widely recognized as an exceptional fruit growing area but as crops, fruit became uneconomical to farm. Now the area’s unique combination of weather and “terroir” are being rediscovered and it is re-emerging rapidly as a world class wine making area.

Note: This article was written with the support and encouragement of the Bayfield Historical Society (BHS).



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new book     

farmerettes fed the war effort 

0-22Some Farmerette camps in the Niagara area had tents in orchards to accommodate the teens.



They were the country version of “Rosie the Riveter” but until the publication of a book late last year not many people knew the significance that “Farmerettes” had made to the war effort in the 1940s – except of course those women, now in their 80s and 90s, that lived the adventure.

According to Bonnie Sitter, of Exeter, these young women planted, hoed, hand-weeded, thinned, staked, picked fruit and harvested vegetables when the farm labor shortage was acute during the war years. They helped increase food production for Ontario and Great Britain as well. Advertisements to enlist the girls promoted the idea that the men couldn't fight if they didn't have food. 

Sitter decided that their significant contribution to the war effort was book worthy, “after several things fell into place.”

In the winter of 2018, she was sorting through old photos that had belonged to her late husband. 

“Among them I discovered two small black-and-white photos with the same three girls in each one. On the back was written simply “Farmerettes about 1946”, but no individual names. I was sorry I’d never asked my husband about the Farmerettes who worked on his family farm. He was under 10 at the time so I imagine he wasn’t particularly interested in what they were doing,” she said.


Rubbing onions ThedfordFarmerettes in Thedford were photographed rubbing onions.  

According to Sitter, the Ontario Farm Service Force initiated the Farmerette program in 1941 and it continued until 1952. In conjunction with the YWCA, the Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Education, 54 Farmerette Camps were established and farmers and growers subscribed to the plan. Girls 16 years of age and older could serve their country and spend their summer at camp.

The YWCA was put in charge of hiring camp mothers. Cooks and labor secretaries were hired, army bunk beds and cots were secured and camps were often established in old buildings. Some locations in the Niagara area had tents in orchards, while others were housed in high schools and empty motels.

“Girls had lots of reasons for signing up, many had relatives in the war; 16-year-olds, looking for adventure, away from home would be good, off doing something different,” said English. “The best thing was that if you had certain marks, you could get out of school early and not have to write the final examinations, but you had to promise to work 13 weeks on the farm."

Curious, she started researching more about the Farmerettes and this led to writing an article published in “The Rural Voice” in early summer 2018. Shirleyan English, of London, ON, and also a retired journalist, responded to the article via a “Letter to the Editor”.

“She had worked on my in-laws’ farm in 1952 and had spent the summer at Farmerette Camp No. 6 in Thedford, ON. She recalled it as having been the best summer of her life. I contacted her and discovered that she had letters in her possession written to her by Farmerettes in response to a request she had had published in some major newspapers across Ontario in 1995,” said Sitter.

IMG_9756 copy  In conjunction with the YWCA, the Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Education, 54 Farmerette Camps were established and farmers and growers subscribed to the plan.  

The result of their collaboration is the book, “Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz: Memories of Ontario Farmerettes” which was published in the fall of 2019. The experiences of 55 plus women are showcased in the book as well as countless photographs that help tell the tale.

0-Cathryn Karst Horne Tregunno Farmerette Camp4Many girls went back a second year or more and often took their sisters with them to experience life on a farm.  

English recalled that the work was very hard and varied by the area the girls were sent to. In the Niagara region, the girls worked in Orchards with peaches, cherries and strawberries.

“One miserable job was thinning peaches,” wrote Isobel (Chowen) Gibson, who lives near Clinton today. She worked at the A.W. Smith Farm in Vineland Station in 1947. “We used to dust ourselves with cornstarch on the bend of our arms and around our necks and other places as the peach fuzz was so itchy.”

English was stationed in the Thedford area where onions, peppermint and celery were grown.

“Being from Northern Ontario, I was from North Bay, I had never seen such a large agricultural field, when I first saw it I was just agape, I couldn’t believe how long it was and we were to weed it,” she said. “The onions were already growing and what we had to do was straddle a middle row and do three rows at once on each side. We weeded on our hands and knees up the row and down the row.”

The summer camps also proved catalysts for developing an open-mind. Many of the girls were introduced to Japanese-Canadian families from British Columbia that were also working on the farms having been interred by the Canadian government at the beginning of the war.

Catherine “Kit” (Fingland) McKnight, who lives in Bayfield today, worked at the A.W. Smith Farm in Vineland Station in 1946. In the book she described an encounter she had with a young Japanese-Canadian while thinning a long row of onions.

1947. Cathryne Karst HornejpgThe Ontario Farm Service Force initiated the Farmerette program in 1941 and it continued until 1953. This image was taken in 1947.  

IMG_2721 2Fruits of the Farmerettes labor - in a can.  

Grandpa Nick and FarmerettesMost girls, despite having sore backs and being sunburned, stayed the required length of time to have their return fare paid by the government, as well as the guarantee of graduating the school year without writing the final exams.




123559_900x“Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz: Memories of Ontario Farmerettes” which was published in the fall of 2019 is the result of a collaboration between Shirleyan English and Bonnie Sitter. The experiences of 55 plus women are showcased in the book as well as countless photographs that help tell the tale.  

0-9 copyThe Farmerette program was so popular it lasted for seven years after the war was over.

“I saw a young boy coming to meet me and to my great surprise he was Japanese. Japanese! My heart turned to stone – we had just had a war with Japan and Germany which had only ended in August of 1945,” she wrote.

When the two met in the middle of the row they sat down and talked.

“He was a boy with a big smile on his face and none on mine. He was so handsome and friendly; the ice began to melt around my heart. He told me he had lived in Vancouver but at the outbreak of the war all the Japanese families had been moved out of BC and he, his sister, mother and father were now in Ontario.

“It was a good learning experience for me as he and his sister had been born in Canada. He was as much a Canadian as I was!” concluded McKnight.

A common thread appears in the letters and essays that English and Sitter sifted through to create the book, the camaraderie and fun the girls had despite the hard work. In fact, many girls returned to work in the camps summer after summer and often brought their younger sisters along.

“The program was so popular it lasted for seven years after the war was over,” recalled English. “We always remember it as being one of the best summers of our lives. It was an awful lot of fun. We remember the camaraderie we had with all the girls and the fun we had.”

Sitter acknowledged that the women featured in the book were very excited to see the project come to fruition.

“No one had ever recognized the work they did, especially around Remembrance Day, they helped save the harvest during the war years,” Sitter explained.

“Even after WWII had ended you could be excused early in the spring from high school to be a Farmerette and do your part to relieve the farm labor shortage. We were the country version of Rosie the Riveter,” wrote Gibson.

“Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz: Memories of Ontario Farmerettes” is available now at The Village Book Shop, Bayfield; Fincher’s and The Book Peddler, both in Goderich; Made in Huron, Clinton; and Maple and Moose and Cowbell, both in Blyth. Peope can also contact Sitter by phone at 519 235-1090 or email

** With notes from CBC Radio. 

2017.3.1-Farmerettes-Picnic-at-Reforestry-Station-1946-321x450It wasn't all work and no play - these Farmerettes enjoyed a picnic at the Reforestry Station in 1946.  

0-5With the help of the CBC and newspapers in cities and towns from North Bay to Ottawa and beyond, the word was spread about how girls 16 years of age and older could serve their country and spend their summer at camp.

IMG_1103Girls invented songs about their experiences and their camps to boost morale.  

Herman013  v2 copy 2 work

Among the many contributors to the book was Phyllis (Herman) Thompson, of Clinton. She is seen in this picture snacking on peaches along with her sister Helen Herman (left).  

IMG_1092 Audrey (Jervis) Middleton, of the Bayfield area, worked on the A. W. Smith Farm in Vineland in 1946. This is the page in the book dedicated to her story.



PIXILATED — image of the week


Bayfield River Cormorants...By Linda Jones

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









The book publisher for Brian Bilston describes him as the Banksy of poetry and Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate. I have become familiar with his work through a friend on Facebook who during this time of physical distancing has regularly shared his work of the day. On May 8th, Bilston published a poem that particularly resonated with me and I reached out to ask if he wouldn’t mind if I shared it with you here. He responded immediately expressing his delight at the opportunity – so without further ado may I present, “Kindness” by Brian Bilston. – Melody




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

Please email me at or call 519-525-3830.

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Writer, editor, photographer: Melody Falconer-Pounder
Web publisher/Graphic Designer: Dennis Pal
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Logo Design: Kyle Vanderburgh, Goderich Print Shop
Special thanks to the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce
Breeze Committee:Mike Dixon, John Pounder, Dennis Pal, Melody Falconer-Pounder