Cookstown Councillor Chooses Barrie Designation Over Innisfil

One of the basic recommendations from the Inspiring Innisfil 2020 report was to lobby for a single community telephone directory and Innisfil postal codes to help build a common identity.

Innisfil Council recently voted to endorse the idea. Councillor Lynn Dollin, whose ward includes Cookstown, was the only one to vote against the motion.  She explained, “the politicians of the day promised that if there was amalgamation the identity would not change” when Cookstown became part of Innisfil 20 years ago.

Councillor Dollin says “Cookstown has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to create a name and identity.”  Well, let’s see. In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

I receive 3 separate telephone directories from 3 separate companies:

  • Canpages (Barrie): Coverage extends north to Hillsdale, west to Dunedin and south to Gilford but Cookstown is not included
  • PhoneGuide (Barrie & Area): Listings are provided for 22 urban areas in the 705 area but Cookstown is not included
  • Yellow Pages: the traditional telephone directory from Bell Canada. Bell lists Cookstown entries under Barrie. Alcona residents are listed under Stroud and Lefroy. Good luck finding local listings. Most of us give up.

OK, the first two directories are the least helpful because they are very incomplete for both residential and business numbers in Innisfil. Only businesses that have paid to advertise are included in them.

That leaves the Yellow Pages directory, which is hopelessly muddled and confusing. According to Councillor Dollin, it’s better to have Cookstown information (population 1,500?) scattered into a Barrie directory amongst 45,000 unrelated household entries and thousands of business listings! Hmm. My guess is that Cookstown may have lost more business over the years than it has gained with this arrangement.

Inspiring Innisfil 2020 proposes to spend Innisfil’s money to preserve and enhance neighbourhood identities – including Cookstown – with special street and gateway signage and other measures. But no, Councillor Dollin says the good people of Cookstown will fight to go it alone – “if in fact the CRTC and Canada Post goes down this road, you will be hearing from this community.”

Well heck, why wait. Let’s hear from you now! You’re invited to add your thoughts below. And if you would like Innisfil to have its own telephone directory, even if you live in Cookstown (part of Innisfil for the past 20 years) let the directory publishers know:

Yellow Pages Group Co.
Customer Service
325 Milner Ave., 5th Floor
Scarborough, ON M1B 5S8
1-877-909-9356 ;
2700 Production Way, 5th Floor
Burnaby, BC V5A 0C2
4575 Blakie St., 2nd Floor
London, ON N6L 1P8

If you agree with Lynn Dollin that Cookstown is better off as an unofficial telephonic suburb of Barrie, you can contact your Councillor, and say, ‘hands off Cookstown’.

Maybe the Councillor is more adamant about the set of postal codes that are currently reserved by Canada Post for Cookstown. If Canada Post does agree to reassign all Innisfil postal codes to “Innisfil” is that really such a problem?  There’s an easy solution for Cookstown residents who feel that strongly about preserving their postal identity. Just keep writing ‘Cookstown’ on your envelopes and parcels. The mail is delivered according to the machine-readable postal code anyway.  For example, Etobicoke became part of the amalgamated City of Toronto in 1998 but many people continue to use the Etobicoke designation and, guess what? Mail still gets delivered to Etobicoke.

After so much has been invested in the forward-looking document, Inspiring Innisfil 2020, it’s sad to see a Councillor who is looking the opposite way.

Councillor opposes ‘Innisfil-only’ phone book, Innisfil Journal