Tag Archives: Huron County

It’s here: The Christmas holiday season in Huron County

14 Nov

goderichparade17BY DIVA CAROLINE THUSS – Don’t get me wrong. I have been enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather we’ve been lucky to have so far this fall but there is something about the holiday season that makes me crave a light dusting of snow, hot chocolate with a splash of Bailey’s and all the Christmas displays that neighbours and storefronts prepare.

There is so much going on in Huron County to get you in the spirit and it all starts this weekend! From the lighting of trees to Santa Claus floats in the local parades to the famous ladies night to get a jump of your Christmas shopping.

Here is a rundown of events:


Christmas in Bayfield

Friday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 15

Lighting of the lights in Clan Gregor Square took place last night and the Santa Claus parade got under way this morning. FREE horse drawn carriage rides all weekend! Lots of shops are open for fun Christmas shopping.


Brussels Business Group & Municipality of Huron East’s Brussels Santa Claus Parade

Saturday, Nov. 28, starting at 5 p.m.

Come out and enjoy a great family evening. Visit with Santa after the parade and be sure to bring your picture for the colouring contest (ages 1 – 12). Free skating and face painting. Make plans to attend this wonderful evening.


Clinton Santa Claus Parade

Friday, Dec. 4, starting at 7 p.m.

A regular Santa Claus Parade with floats, bands, etc. and the “Jolly Old Man” himself!


Exeter Tree Lighting

Friday, Nov. 20, starting at 6:30 p.m.

MacNaughton Park, Exeter

Exeter BIA’s Exeter Christmas Open House

Friday, Nov. 20 to Sunday, Nov. 22

Celebrate the Christmas season in Exeter! Check out its fabulous shops and restaurants, then head to the Santa Claus Parade!

Exeter Lions Club & Exeter BIA Exeter Santa Claus Parade

Saturday, Nov. 21, starting at 7 p.m.

Come and enjoy a parade of lights along Main Street! Part of “Christmas Weekend in Exeter” festivities.


IODE Goderich Christmas House Tour

Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15

Area homes decorated for Christmas are open to ticket holders for touring. Saturday Nov. 14 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Refreshments at the Goderich Library. Tickets, $20, available at the Goderich Library or by contacting 519-524-6700.

Goderich BIA Ladies’ Night Out

Thursday, Nov. 19, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Enjoy refreshments, nibbles, free gifts, and in store specials. Why not treat yourself? You work hard all year round, but the holiday season is especially hectic, so treat yourself to a night out on the town, in downtown Goderich.

Festival of Lights Celebration

Friday, Nov. 20 to Sunday, Nov. 22

Let Goderich brighten your mood and gladden your heart with yuletide joy, glittering lights, charming displays and special events during this annual salute to the festive holiday season.

Friday, Nov. 21: Candlelight Ceremony at Lions Harbour Park to remember and honour those who are no longer present with us.

Saturday, Nov. 21: 6:30 p.m. – seasonal music; 7 p.m. Court House Park light displays will be turned on; 7:15 p.m. – Santa Claus Parade beings.


Hensall Kinsmen and the Hensall Fire Department’s Hensall Wreath & Tree Lighting

Friday, Nov. 27, starting at 6 p.m.

Folks gather at the Jennie Smillie Parkette for BCES choir performances and tree lighting. Hot dogs and hot chocolate are served following this at the Hensall arena, as well as games for the kids.


Christmas Show and Sale of Pottery

Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15, noon to 6 p.m.

Studio open house featuring new work in stoneware and porcelain by award-winning potter Robert Tetu. Choose from functional pottery or beautiful one-of-a-kind decorative items, all displayed in an historic general store.

Location: Beechwood Pottery, 44004 Bridge Road – 4 km north of St. Columban (Hwy #8) on Beechwood Line, corner of Bridge Road.


Lucknow & District Chamber of Commerce and Lucknow Kinsmen’s Lucknow Santa Claus Parade

Friday, Nov. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

Main Street is aglow with lights and music as our many floats usher Santa to town. Visit with Santa at the arena and get a free treat bag. Free skating from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the arena.


Shop Seaforth & Win – 2016 Edition

This year the Seaforth BIA is once again holding our Shop Seaforth and Win Christmas promotion, and its gotten the okay from the big man himself (Santa, of course!) to add to the prize pot. Four prizes of $mart Money to be won.

All you have to do is collect five receipts from any of our BIA business members, put them in an envelope with your name and phone number, and drop them off at the tourist information booth in the Santa Mailbox! It’s super easy, and the promotion runs until Dec. 22.

Seaforth Lions’ Santa Claus Parade  

Friday, Nov. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

Lighted Santa Claus Parade.

BIA No Tax Weekend

Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6.


Wingham and District Lions Club’s Wingham Santa Claus Parade

Saturday, Nov. 28, starting at 11 a.m.

Children are invited to meet Santa at the Fire Hall following the parade.


Poinsettia Festival at Huron Ridge Acres

Thursday, Nov. 19 to Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Thursday, Nov. 26 to Saturday, Nov. 28, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Experience the wonder of thousand of beautiful poinsettias during daytime hours, the soothing atmosphere created with twinkling lights, candles and music during evening hours. Greenhouses are decked out to get you in the Christmas Spirit. 47101 Bronson Line, Zurich.




Huron’s tourism operators get a night out

22 Oct

waynepettiBy Diva Heather Boa

BAYFIELD – A cluster of women have turned their chairs away from tables recently cleared of the remnants of another fine dinner at The Ashwood and they face indie rock musician Wayne Petti, who commands the small stage.

He encourages them to sing the chorus “If I live, or if I die” while he lays his vocals over top, accompanied by guitar. Their voices carry to the far end of the bar, where others attending the Fall Harvest Dinner hosted by the Huron Tourism Association chat over after-dinner drinks.

It’s a Thursday night in this quiet village, but nearly 40 people have gathered here for a three-course dinner and to hear this talented Canadian singer-songwriter from band Cuff the Duke, just another musician in an impressive lineup of performers who hit the stage at The Ashwood. (Royal Wood with Peter Katz on Oct. 29 is sold out, but there are still tickets available for Northern Pikes – yes, the same band that sings She Ain’t Pretty – on Nov. 12., and The Ashgrove on Nov. 14.)

The Ashwood is a fine example of the effort local tourism operators put into creating experiences that attract tourists.

Kim Burgsma, President, Huron Tourism Association

Kim Burgsma, President, Huron Tourism Association

In fact, Kim Burgsma, who is the president of the Huron Tourism Association, tells those tourism operators gathered for dinner that tourism brings $60 million annually to Huron County, with 94 per cent of visitors coming from less than three hours away.


Want to be in the know about what’s going on in Huron County?

Here are a few ways:

  1. Follow Ontario’s West Coast’s Facebook Page
  2. Follow Ontario’s West Coast’s Twitter Page @onwestcoast
  3. Sign up for the Huron Tourism Association weekly listing of upcoming events by emailing tourism@huroncounty.ca


Countryside inspires artists in Huron County Art Show

19 Oct

groupshotBy Diva Heather Boa

GODERICH – Cows. It doesn’t matter if they’re Jerseys or Holsteins. Just cows.

It seems those four-legged cud-chewing creatures figure prominently in the imaginations of artists here along the Lake Huron shoreline. Why else would curators of the Huron County Art Show have to strategically arrange the exhibit to separate paintings of cows, relegating one to each wall? They are separated by barns, trees, wildlife and all sorts of other pastoral scenes captured in a variety of media in this 15th annual show, with this year’s theme: Our Creative Countryside.

David Taylor

David Taylor

“It was a great pleasure to jury this show and I was very impressed with the high standard that you’ve developed here,” said David Taylor, during the show opening at the Huron County Museum this weekend. Taylor served as curator of various public art galleries before retiring in 2006 and now volunteers to assist the curator of collections at the Tom Thompson Art Gallery in Owen Sound.

In front of a crowd of artists, family and friends, he announced six honourable mentions along with the first and second prize winners, whose artwork is purchased by the County of Huron and becomes part of its art bank for display in county-owned buildings.

The exhibit features 36 artists from across Huron County, including 11 new artists.

farmallFirst prize went to Scott Ramsay for Ole Faithful, an acrylic “portrait” of a ’58 Farmall H.

“Each well-earned wrinkle and blemish is creatively reproduced to express the love, use and reuse by the owner,” wrote Ramsay in his description of the artwork.

Second prize went to Julie-Anne Lizewski for Field of Promises, an encaustic on wood panel.

“This painting was inspired by a recent tour of a friend’s Huron County farm, overlooking a field, with a feeling of great joy and hope for the future.

fieldencousticThe art show is funded by the County of Huron, which recognizes culture as one of the pillars of economic development.

“Aristotle once said, the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance,” said Paul Gowing, the county’s warden, during the opening ceremony. He said the art in the show highlights the inward significance, putting a different light and frame on subjects.

happyfarmLater in the evening, Lynn Haygarth’s liquid acrylic piece, Happy Farm – Plough, was announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award, based on ballots cast by those attending the opening evening.

A final award winner – the one that will make the poster of the 2017 International Plowing Match Rural Expo – will be announced during the summer of 2016.

The Huron County Art Show runs until Dec. 20. Entrance is free with museum admission.

Party in Bayfield has decidedly local flavour

26 Sep

foodcharter1By Diva Heather Boa
BAYFIELD – Five one-ounce plastic containers of wine huddled on a paper plate. Each held a taste of wine made from grapes grown right here in Huron County, at Maelstrom Winery.

foodcharter3I started with the Frontenac Blanc, worked through the Chardonnay and then moved on to the reds. There was Pinot Noir and Tempest. And, finally, Marquette, a big and bold red that happily chased down a pastry from Cait’s Kitchen filled with thin slices of pepperoni from Metzger’s Meat Products and a creamy jalapeno cheese from Blyth Cheese Farm. Beside me, a local criminal lawyer sampled a Prison Break Pilsner brewed in Guelph. On my other side, a friend sipped on a glass of Pinot Noir, her favourite from the Flight of Wine.

Clusters of people filled the cabaret-style setting, while in the background, The Blacklist Social, a local band, comfortably sprinkled original songs between a strong playbill of folk and rock music.

The Food Charter Launch Party at the Bayfield Town Hall on Sept. 26, organized by the Huron Food Action Network, had a decidedly local flavour.

foodcharter15According to its literature, the network has a mission of cultivating a sustainable, local food system to nourish all people of Huron County and beyond.

“Huron county is not only beautiful in its appearance but in its abundance,” said Nathan Swartz, who is the network’s food system co-ordinator. He said its rich soil produces an abundance of food.

As part of the launch party, the network handed out awards to what it calls Food Heroes.

“Superheroes do things we wish we could do. Perhaps more importantly, things we should be doing,” Swartz said. “We can’t depend on government and massive corporations to protect our food so it’s up to us and local food heroes.”

Award winners were: Red Cat Farm, north of Goderich on Hwy. 21; Bayfield Berry Farm, just east of Bayfield on Orchard Line; Part II Bistro of Blyth; and Maelstrom Winery, just east of Clinton on Sanctuary Line.

While I wholeheartedly support the network’s efforts, for me it was also a great evening out with friends in celebration of local food, drink and music.

Its next event should be a sold out affair. Watch for it.


Maybe I lost a bet or something, but I did also promise to publicly proclaim Caitlin Vail of Cait’s Kitchen as Croissant Queen of Goderich. There you go.

Enjoy the harvest of your local farmers’ market

25 Sep



By Diva Caroline Thuss

GODERICH – I have always enjoyed heading to the farmers’ market to enjoy the bounty that is available every week. This past weekend I ventured to the Goderich Farmers’ Market with a few recipes in mind from some Canadian chefs to make and enjoy.

farmersmarket5The first stop for me is always the Red Cat Farm Bakery to get some beautiful breads and some yummy treats that keep my younger companions happy while I continue
my way around The Square in Goderich. As you can see, the size of their baked goods are enough to satisfy even the hungriest market-goer.

farmersmarket4Next stop is the Maitland Market and Supply to visit with Erika. There is such a beautiful array of colours as you look at the local veggies and fruit that are available. The windy weather did not hold us back from purchasing a bag full of produce that my son chose. I had to limit him as we only have so much room to store all these beautiful veggies and fruit. I was happy to see that she had some raspberries available. These were put together with rhubarb from my backyard to make a beautiful pie.

As we continued along the square we picked up some lovely pork sausage (that ended up on the barbecue and in my chili), some beautiful sweet potatoes (for my favourite Fall comfort dish: sweet potato soup) and more veggies that made it into a variety of delicious meals. As you can see, I was
very successful and my total cost was just under $60. I spent most of the day Sunday preparing meals with this haul from the market.

There are a variety of Farmers’ Markets all over Huron County for you to enjoy. Most run until October. Check out your local market while the harvest is plentiful and enjoy the bounty that Huron County produces.




Clinton and Central Huron Farmers’ Market 2pm-6pm, Grand Bend Farmers’ Market 8am-1pm, Wingham Farmers’ Market 3:30pm-7pm


Exeter Farmers’ Market 3pm-7pm


Bayfield Farmers’ Market 3pm-7pm, Brussels Farmers’ Market 2pm-6pm


Dungannon Farmers’ Market 9am-11:30am, Howick Farmers’ Market 9am-noon, Goderich Farmers’ Market 8am-1pm, Old 86 Farmers’ Market 9am-6pm



Chef Michael Smith’s Sweet Potato Soup


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large sweet potato, or 2 small, peeled and cut into small chunks

2-3 cups chicken broth

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. When it begins to get hot, add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until softened and fully aromatized.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and enough broth to completely cover all the vegetables. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook until potatoes are very soft and then puree with a hand blender, food processor or countertop blender until smooth. You may also serve the soup ‘as is. Taste and add more seasoning if need be.


Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/michael-smiths-sweet-potato-soup/9570/#kZlDFPslAfH4UhBp.99


Great Horned owls, frogs and hot dogs draw many to Wawanosh Nature Centre

26 Aug

wawanosh3By Diva Caroline Thuss

NORTH HURON – Packed up the family, flashlights, bug spray and donned rubber boots this past Thursday to head to the Wawanosh Nature Centre for an evening full of discovery for all ages at the annual Wawanosh By Moonlight event.

Located in North Huron, the drive into the Wawanosh Nature centre leads down a beautiful winding country road. It is not very well marked so it was very handy to have my husband with me to help spot the turns. Once we parked the car, we were greeted by staff and shown through the classroom where several artefacts were on display to teach about owls, bats and other creatures in the nature area.

wawanosh1The leader for the event, Erin, informed the group about some crazy owl facts, like they can turn their heads 270 degrees, and although they have amazing sight and hearing they do NOT have a great sense of smell as one of the Great Horned owls favourite snacks is skunks…yes, you read it here: SKUNKS!  Once we practised a few owl calls and refreshed our bug spray we headed out on our 1.5-k hike with lots of other families. There was also a 3-k route for those who were up for the longer adventure.

wawanosh4We kept up with the pace as we explored the woods, stopping a few times to learn about the different creatures in the conservation area that are nocturnal. This was very interactive as Erin got the attendees of all ages involved in figuring which frog call belong to what frog, using our sense of smell in the dark and working on our hearing to have a better understanding of the amazing abilities owls and others have.

wawanosh2At our last stop, we were very fortunate to spot a Great Horned owl perched on top of a tree. We watched it for a short while before it majestically took off in search of its dinner. We tried our best to call it back but many of the younger group members were ready to head for the campfire for hot dogs and marshmallows as a fun way to end the night.

The campfire was a very social event with many breaking out into traditional songs and sharing tips on how to get the perfectly roasted marshmallow. Conservation Authority staff were available to answer any more questions that attendees had. It was a great evening event that had all my kiddos snoring on our drive home.

A nice bonus was the free bowling pass to the Goderich Little Bowl that we received on our way out.


There are many things happening at the different conservation authorities in Huron County.

Check them out:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Maitland Valley Conservation Authority


St. Joseph Park: Breakfast and a local history lesson

18 Aug

mainBy Diva Shari Parsons

ST. JOSEPH – Golden sunshine, golden pancakes and golden maple syrup – what more could a person ask for? All of these and more were available at the Breakfast in the Park in the small community of St. Joseph Just north of Grand Bend on Highway 21.

This summer event is organized by the St. Joseph & Area Historical Society and takes place in the shady St. Joseph Memorial Park on the corner of Bluewater Highway and Hensall/Zurich Road. All proceeds from the breakfast go towards the maintenance of the park.

16-month-old Brinley from Zurich enjoys breakfast with her grandmother.

16-month-old Brinley from Zurich enjoys breakfast with her grandmother.

The breakfast menu featured ruby red strawberries and juicy, freshly sliced cantaloupe, hot scrambled eggs, thick sausages fresh off the “barbie”, and golden pancakes that could be drizzled (or drowned) in sweet, golden maple syrup. To quench your thirst, there was hot coffee and cold juice. All of this was served with smiles and friendly banter. The cost was a “Free Will Offering”, which I thought was a great idea and easy on the pocket book.

You could take your heaping plate and sit at one of the many tables and chairs that had been set up under canopies or make use of one of the park’s picnic tables. It was nice to look around and see singles, couples, families, young and not so young enjoying one another’s company in these pleasant surroundings.

As its name suggests, the park is a memorial to St. Joseph, who is the patron saint of Canada. The park features a statue of St. Joseph holding Baby Jesus. The exact spot for the location of the statue was chosen by Brother Andre (now known as St. Andre of Montreal) in 1917, however, the memorial did not get built until 1972.

The park also features a memorial to Brother Andre of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. He was famous for his good works among French Canadians and was credited with thousands of reportedly miraculous healings.

IMG_2341The park is also dedicated to the memory of the French Canadians who left Quebec in the early part of the 19th century and settled in the area now called St. Joseph, the only French settlement between Windsor and Midland. A Heritage Walkway contains the names of many of those original families, names such as Masse, LaPorte, and Cantin, with perhaps the settlement’s most famous citizen being Narcisse Cantin, aka “The Father of the St. Lawrence Seaway”. There are also a number of plaques situated along the walkway, which provide some very interesting local historical facts and pictures.

The St. Joseph & Area Historical Society works hard to collect and preserve the local history and has created a wonderful website.

Its Breakfast in the Park is a nice outing for the family where you can fill your tummies with yummy food and your heads with some interesting local history.


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