The Culture of Horticulture

I’m going to pause here to help spread the word about the Innisfil Planters Festival being held in a couple of weeks at the Innisfil Arboretum, Saturday May 26, from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm. (Shore Acres Dr. at the 20th Sideroad)

This annual fund-raiser for the Innisfil Garden Club is partnered this year with the Innisfil Arts Culture and Heritage Council. I’m a member of both organizations and a dedicated gardener. So it seems like an excellent opportunity, especially for new residents and new gardeners to pick up some perennial plants, (we can never have too many!) discover the arboretum and enjoy getting outdoors after our too-long winter. If you have some gardening challenges, ask our Master Gardener for advice.

There will be beverages, a BBQ, and a bake table too, so plan to linger a bit to browse some displays and vendors. This year, we’re planning to have a garden tool sale and swap as well to encourage new gardeners to “dig in”. Donations of any used, but surplus, garden tools such as rakes, shovels, forks, spades, or shears would be welcomed – you can send a note here to to arrange a drop-off or contact Marilyn at

Of course, members of the Innisfil Garden Club and the Innisfil Arts, Culture and Heritage Council (IACHC) look forward to meeting our Innisfil neighbours and invite you to consider joining these organizations.

Innisfil Planters Festival May26




Innisfil Dates to Circle

There are several approaching events that various Innisfil residents might want to circle on their calendars:

Monday, January 29 – Revitalizing Cookstown
Cookstown Library, 20 Church St., 6:30 pm

A “grassroots” meeting to help local businesses and organizations discuss how to bring new vitality to Cookstown. Innisfil’s Economic Development Catalyst will moderate a discussion of three possible strategies and invite additional ideas.

Wednesday, January 31 – Protecting Water Sources
Barrie – Southshore Centre, 205 Lakeshore Dr., 5:30 – 800 pm

An Open House sponsored by the Ontario government to let the public examine proposals to protect regional water sources by extending the Greenbelt.

Wednesday, February 7 – Over-Water Development Application
Town Hall 7:00 pm


Council will consider a zoning amendment to permit construction of a 2,764 S.F. boathouse complex, (foundation shown in photo) which would cover approximately 1/4 acre of Lake Simcoe.

February Blues Festival at IPL / IdeaLab

Had enough ‘serious’ stuff? It’s time for the Blues Festival, at Cookstown Branch Saturday February 3, 11 am to 2 pm with the Django Djunkies; and in Alcona at Lakeshore Branch, Sunday February 4, 2 pm to 5 pm with Richard Whiteman and Kurt Neilson.

Celebrate and Contemplate

Next week (July 22) Innisfil Beach Park will be the site for Celebrate Lake Simcoe. It will be in recognition of its importance to our lives and an opportunity to learn about efforts to restore and maintain a clean lake and watershed for this region. Indigenous people will participate this year with a traditional pow wow and displays of their own.

Recent events make it all the more important to celebrate clean water and motivate us to ensure clean water for everyone. The mercury poisoning scandal at Grassy Narrows caused by industrial contamination of the Wabigoon River (up to 50 years ago and continuing today) may be one of the most neglected environmental disasters in history. At the end of June the Ontario government committed $85 million toward clean-up of this “gross neglect”. But a resolution will require more years of effort while almost all members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation exhibit symptoms of some neurological damage.

I’m reminding my readers of this because of an alarming report published in the American Chemical Society Journal and recently described in Science Daily and Clean Technica. One headline reads, “Waste Water from Fracking Pollutes Pennsylvania Watershed”.  Continue reading

Rotary Walk & Run June 3 Supports Innisfil Trails

Rotary Club of Innisfil has been instrumental in fostering the development of a public trail through a 55 acre woodlot behind the Town Hall and Recreation Complex extending to the 7th Line. The Rotary Trail project consists of “a series of walking and biking trails that will be open to the community and visitors, as well as create a Living Classroom of our local ecosystem our students can come to explore.”  An initial portion of the trail was officially opened last fall and Rotary members are eager to further develop the project.

According to press reports, the County of Simcoe will link the trail to Alcona through a walking/cycling path planned along Innisfil Beach Road when it is widened. “There will also be a link to other County trail systems such as Simcoe and Huronia Trails and the Trans Canada Trail.”

Rotary is organizing this year’s Walk and Run at Innisfil Recreation Complex on Saturday June 3 to help raise funds for this ambitious trail project. (The total funding target is $2,000,000). In the past 2 years the Fun Run has contributed $8,000 toward the trails project. Additional funding has come from the the Trillium Foundation and the Inspiring Innisfil grant program.

This year, participants meet at the Innisfil Recreation Complex, registration starting at 7:30 a.m.; warm-up at 9 a.m. for a 5 km Fun Walk and Run. Entry is $5 for adults and seniors or $20 for families. (See below to register in advance online) The Walk & Run is followed by more Family Fun Day events at the Recreation Complex.

Fun Run 2017


Creative in Cookstown

In past years, The Cookstown Chamber of Commerce has sponsored a Creative Chair Contest. Regular readers know that I enjoyed participating a few times. This year, “anyone, anywhere” – young and old(er) – are invited to join in a new fun challenge. I’ve got my theme picked, and my idea forming. How did they know I have a bunch of old frames in the garage?


 view / download entry formcreative-frames-17

Info Put On ICE

The Innisfil Community Events Corporation, popularly known as ICE Corp, was created in 1994 to promote events and raise funds for community organizations. It’s founder and president is our current Mayor, Gord Wauchope. Two sitting councillors are currently members of ICE Corp. Four other members of ICE Corp have previously served on Council or run for municipal office.

As a non-profit corporation, ICE Corp is not obliged to make any information available to the public. It would seem appropriate though, that it’s operations should be more transparent considering that it is so closely associated with the Town, elected Council and aspiring politicians.

It would be useful to know more about the sources and uses of funds. What proportion of revenues comes from sponsors? What proportion of revenue is raised at events? How much is retained to finance future events? What proportion is donated to community groups each year?

What organizations have been the beneficiaries over the years? Surprisingly, not even that historical information is available on the ICE Corp web site. We do know that ICE Corp was a major fund-raiser for the Recreational Complex.

ICE Corp solicits sponsors in three categories without further description: Signature, Community and Event Sponsors plus five Media Sponsors. In the past, sponsors included some local developers: Bradley Homes; Pratt Developments (Signature); Friday Harbour; Lormel Homes (Community) and San Diego Homes (Event). Information about sponsors in these categories has been removed from the ICE Corp web site, or perhaps they no longer have any. Five additional corporate “Friendship” Sponsors are listed and ICE Corp also acknowledges the support of Royal Bank, TD Bank, the former “People’s” Credit Union and Rotary Club of Innisfil.

While ICE Corp is most often identified with the annual SummerFest and Santa Claus Parade, it has also hosted a fishing derby, golf tournament, WinterFest, Polar Bear Dip and New Year’s Skate. Improving communication and providing more transparency might help ICE Corp develop some fresh event concepts, encourage wider community participation and stimulate economic impact. Numerous opportunities compiled from the public during Inspiring Innisfil consultations are being missed.