'The Citizen' looks back on the year that was in 2022
At just 18 years old, Justin Morrison of Brussels was chosen as the newest Huron East Council member, representing the Brussels Ward, to replace the seat vacated by John Lowe in late 2021.
The decision took council two rounds of voting to land on Morrison, who was challenging for the seat alongside former Morris-Turnberry Mayor and Huron County Warden Paul Gowing and newcomer Jason Hovius.
In the first vote, Gowing and Morrison each earned four votes, while Hovius garnered one. The second vote, after Hovius was eliminated from contention, went Morrison’s way by a count of five to four.
Bluevale-area youth Caleb Vankoughnett joined the prestigious Team Thor-Kawasaki motocross team. His experience with the team was set to begin in June with his first race scheduled for June 5 in Kamloops, British Columbia.
While there were still many details to be determined, the Brussels Agricultural Society was working towards hosting the Brussels Fall Fair in September of 2022 after several years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The design of a new mural created by renowned cartoonist Randy Jones was revealed in The Citizen, months ahead of when it would be placed at its permanent location near the Blyth entrance to the Blyth Greenway Trail - part of the Goderich-to-Guelph Rail Trail system.
The work of art featured some of the village’s landmarks, such as the Blyth Festival’s new Harvest Stage, the Blyth Campground and the Blyth Lions Park, among others.
Wingham rolled out the red carpet for a new pair of healthcare professionals in the doctor-pharmacist husband-and-wife team of Dr. Mahrous Mousa and Salwa Sokar. The pair had trained in Egypt and the United Kingdom before coming to Canada and working in British Columbia for a number of years.
Huron East Council passed its 2022 budget, which included a 9.49 per cent increase to the municipal tax levy, representing operating expenditures of just under $14 million.
The Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund announced that it would be adding a new award to its Order of the Good Samaritan Award line-up. Named for late Blyth Fire Chief Paul Josling, who was involved with the Fund from its inception, the award would honour community outreach.
Huron East Council was considering a proposal to create a public committee to weigh in on the composition and compensation associated with council positions. Any recommendations would be made ahead of the 2026-2030 term of council.
The Huron Perth Junior Farmers launched The Century Farm Show, an online series that would closely examine a dozen century farms - and the families who manage them - over the course of the year.
The episodes were created by Nick Vinnicombe and hosted by Lauren Bos and Jolande Oudshoorn. The first episode focused on the Exeter-area farm of Tom and Bev Prout.
Carolyn Somerville marked her 50th year of working with Howson and Howson, starting with the company straight out of high school.
North Huron Council passed its budget for the year. The total budget topped $14.3 million, with a 6.28 per cent increase over 2021 to be raised through taxation.
After a forced break due to lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wingham Ironmen were back on the ice, notching a 2-2 tie with the Kincardine Bulldogs and a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Hanover Barons.
While municipalities were putting the budget process behind them, approving their financial plan for the year, Huron County Council’s budget deliberations had stalled due to the number of new positions being proposed in 2022. Several councillors expressed their concern with the 23.75 full-time equivalent positions being proposed in the budget, even if some of those positions were to be fully funded by upper-tier governments.
Council would eventually pass its budget later that month, with a 3.06 per cent increase to the tax levy. The budget also included the aforementioned new positions, despite persistent protestation from some councillors.
The Brussels Agricultural Society vowed to create a plan to host the 2022 Brussels Fall Fair at the Four Winds Barn in September after a small subcommittee offered the membership a handful of options for the first in-person fair in several years.
The Blyth Festival welcomed Kelly McIntosh to its team as its audience development co-ordinator and artistic associate.
The Wingham Ironmen dropped two spots in the North Pollock Division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League standings after being stripped of three wins due to what was being called an “administrative error” regarding the league’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Huron County Council opted to move ahead with the installation of traffic signals and turning lanes at the intersection of Blyth and London Roads in the south end of Blyth. Council initially made the decision in late 2021, but certified that decision in February after holding public meetings and further council discussion.
The Blyth Festival announced that it was moving forward with a four-show season the following summer, entirely at its new outdoor Harvest Stage.
Allyson Barbour of Brussels and her figure skating team, Tavistock Team Unity, travelled to Calgary for the Skate Canada National Synchronized Skating Championship and came home with a silver medal for their efforts.
After two years of cancellations, both the Huron County Plowing Match and the annual reunion of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association were set to move ahead, barring any unforeseen developments.
The Blyth Lions Club officially closed the door on its food booth at the Blyth Campground after operating the booth for nearly 50 years.
The club stated that, after not using the booth for over two years and substantial equipment upgrades being necessary, it was no longer feasible for the club to operate the booth for just one weekend a year (the weekend of the annual reunion of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association).
The Blyth Brussels U13 Rep Crusaders went through the Goderich Young Canada Week tournament undefeated on their way to winning gold, beating Dresden in the final game of the tournament to claim victory.
Blyth-based artist Kelly Stevenson received an Ontario Arts Council grant to complete “ana”, a project she started 10 years earlier when she was a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design. The work focused on humanizing those who suffer through eating disorders through the lens of her cousin Sarah, who died of anorexia in 1997.
Walton’s Allison Stevenson was part of the McCaw Cup-winning Brock University Badgers hockey team after the team claimed victory over the Nipissing Lakers in the finals.
The provincial victory earned the team a berth in the national championship, set to be held the following weekend in the Maritimes.
In the “Battle of Highway 8”, the Seaforth Centenaires were taking on the Clinton Radars in the Western Ontario Athletic Association hockey finals. The Centenaires came out flying, winning three of the first four games, leaving the Radars one game away from elimination.
The fifth-seeded Wingham Ironmen were in the Provincial Junior Hockey League playoffs for the North Pollock Division, but found themselves down three games to none and on the verge of being eliminated by the Hanover Barons.
Allison Stevenson and her Brock University Badgers went winless in the U Sports Women’s Hockey Championship in Prince Edward Island, but Stevenson said the tournament was the experience of a lifetime.
An 18-year-old Morris-Turnberry resident was facing two second-degree murder charges in connection to the deaths of 69-year-old Beverly Stevenson and 65-year-old Darwin Ducharme, both of Brussels.
The Seaforth Centenaires finished the job against the Clinton Radars, winning the final series of the season, allowing the Radars to win just one game of the series.
The Huron Perth Junior Farmers were honoured by the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario as the top club in the province, earning 140 of a possible 150 points in the award’s scoring system.
The Hanover Barons ended the Wingham Ironmen season with a semifinal series victory. The Barons won the fourth game of the series by a score of 4-1, sweeping the Ironmen and moving on.
Huron East Council was keeping an open mind to a process that could have resulted in the merging of the Grey and Brussels Fire Departments, as proposed by Chief Administrative Officer Brad McRoberts.
While COVID-19 restrictions and case reporting was falling by the wayside, Huron Perth Public Health reached a solemn milestone as the two counties surpassed 100 deaths as a result of the virus.
Theo Sawchuk of Blyth, in his capacity as a volunteer with the Huron and Area Search and Rescue team, travelled to Deer Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario to aid local authorities in getting firewood and other supplies to residents in the remote community.
Local knitting enthusiasts Irene Kellins and Sharlene Bolen were leading a project - Huron Crafters for Caregivers - to create handmade gifts to those working in the county’s long-term care facilities who had been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since it had been declared in early 2020.
The Matthew Dinning Memorial Rugby Tournament was held at F.E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham for the first time in several years after cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three teams competed, with Kincardine District Secondary School being crowned the champions when the dust settled.
Don and Cliff Schultz left a lasting legacy in the wake of their deaths, donating over $2 million to local hospitals. The cash infusion came after the auction of their collection of tractors, tools and farm figurines prior to Don’s death in 2019, but after Cliff passed away in 2013.
After several years of competition cancellations, Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador Sean Mitchell was victorious in the District 8 Ambassador competition, paving the way for him to compete for the provincial title at the Canadian National Exhibition later in the year.
On short notice, the communities of Brussels and Grey in Huron East mobilized and created a petition to “Save the Grey Fire Department” in an effort to stall a recommendation to Huron East Council to merge the Brussels and Grey Fire Departments.
Emily Boyer created the petition, which quickly garnered the support of over 600 people. Furthermore, members of the Grey Fire Department met to discuss their support of the petition.
After years of turning down a similar request, North Huron Council voted to fly the Price flag in June at its office in Wingham. The request came from a group focused on inclusion at F.E. Madill Secondary School.
Blyth’s Luke Townsend won a silver medal at a national plowing competition, which was held in Manitoba. It was the second time the local had won silver at the national level.
Steve Jackson and Scott Miller took the reins of the Wingham Terry Fox Run, succeeding Dale and Linda Edgar, who had organized the event for nearly 35 years.
Huron East Council unanimously voted down the proposed fire department shake-up that would have merged the Brussels and Grey Fire Departments. This came after impassioned pleas from both fire chiefs and a petition that had been signed by over 700 people pled with council to save the current fire department structure.
The Blyth Festival Art Gallery opened its season-long community art show with exhibits being featured at the Bainton Gallery at Memorial Hall and highlighted on social media over the summer months.
Ten-year-old Harper Watson of Wingham was named the newest Elementary School Fair Ambassador, succeeding Bryn McInnes, who had held the title for several years due to event cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a decisive victory, Lisa Thompson was elected to return to her position as the MPP for Huron-Bruce, earning nearly 52 per cent of the votes cast in the riding.
Voter turnout in the riding was over 54 per cent, which exceeded the provincial turnout, which was estimated to be approximately 43 per cent.
Huron East Council voted to move ahead with the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre, for a second time, after a modified tender was accepted at a higher cost than originally anticipated. The total cost of the project was forecast to be $7.2 million.
While the unveiling of artist Randy Jones’s mural in Blyth was met with initial fanfare, North Huron Council expressed concerns with some of the artistic choices made and omissions members felt should have been included.
The Brussels Lions Club held a special celebration to mark its 75th anniversary. Held at the Four Winds Barn, the event featured several special presentations to the club, as well as an announcement that the club would be donating $50,000 to the Inspiring Our Future campaign to aid the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre.
Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn announced at a council meeting that he planned to seek a return to his position in the coming municipal election. If elected, it would be his fourth term in the position.
The return of the Rutabaga Festival in Blyth was deemed a success by organizers, who were happy with the slate of events and robust attendance.
After her re-election in Huron-Bruce, MPP Lisa Thompson was told she would also be returning to Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet as the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The 2022 season of the Blyth Festival opened with a remount of The Drawer Boy, one of the most successful plays in Canadian history, spawned from the pen of playwright Michael Healey from his time in Blyth.
Adam Cousins, a Brussels-based musician, won the Forest City London Music Awards for both country artist of the year and music video of the year for his song “Young Again”.
Central Huron Deputy-Mayor Dave Jewitt and North Huron Deputy-Reeve Trevor Seip both turned their attention to the top spot in their municipalities, filing to run for mayor and reeve, respectively, in the municipal election set for October.
Deanna Haanstra, 15, and Paislee Ribey, 10, were named Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador and Little Ambassador, respectively, at a special event held in Brussels to turn the crowns over after several years of Brussels Fall Fair cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Belgrave Community Centre Board honoured the late Kathy Procter with a special memorial plaque at the centre, commemorating all of the work she had done in the community.
The Brussels Tigers held their 50th anniversary invitational tournament. In the end, it was the Elmira Expos who won the A Championship, beating the Tavistock Merchants by a score of 5-4 in the final.
The Brussels 150th Homecoming celebration served to unite the community, bringing thousands of people to the village for what proved to be a memorable long weekend full of fun and activities, all pulled together by Chairs Dan Fritz and Mike Thomas and their team of volunteers.
Steve Silcock and Garett Knight won the bathtub race at the event, returning to the winner’s circle 10 years after the pair claimed victory in the same event in the same bathtub.
The Blyth Festival was forced to cancel The Waltz, its third production of the season, due to sustained illness in the cast and crew and, as a result, lost preparation time.
Huron County Council approved the construction of a new 39-unit supportive housing building in Goderich at a cost of over $20 million.
Long-time Goderich Mayor John Grace died at the age of 64 as the result of a boating accident at his family’s Pickle Lake tourist business, Old Post Lodge Resort.
His untimely death resulted in a massive outpouring of support, including special events held in Goderich and many tributes to his legacy as a community-minded politician and volunteer.
North Huron Councillor Paul Heffer added his name to an already crowded field of those vying to be the next North Huron Reeve, joining incumbent Bernie Bailey and challengers Trevor Seip and Ranko Markeljevic.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization pushed its site selection date back by one year, announcing that the site would be announced in 2024. Just two finalists for the site remained: Ignace, in Northern Ontario, and near Teeswater in South Bruce.
The Huron County Plowing Match welcomed more visitors to the event than any in recent memory, after two years of cancellations and truncated events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the match, Kippen’s Luanne McGregor was crowned the Queen of the Furrow, while Jillian Shortreed from the Walton area earned the Princess crown.
Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador Sean Mitchell made it to the top seven in the provincial Ambassador competition at the Canadian National Exhibition. It was the first time a Brussels Ambassador had made it that far in the competition since Nicole Lowe made the top seven in 2002.
Huron Chapel in Auburn ended its lengthy search for a new pastor, naming Michael Stanley its new leader. He was set to join the church in October, coming from his home community of Wasaga Beach.
Action in the Huron County Fastball League officially wrapped up for the season, and the Belmore Stingers finished atop the league with a record of 16-4.
The Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association had a successful reunion after taking several years off due to the pandemic. President Judy Sloan said the attendance was good and that it was a thrill to welcome people back to the storied event.
Brussels native Tim Harrison was one of 38 people who were honoured by Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon, with a Canadian Medal of Bravery.
Harrison and three others were awarded for their life-saving work in 2016 when they rescued two people from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
Belgrave native Austin Chaffe won a Canadian Country Music Award for being the creative director of the year thanks to his work with artists such as Dean Brody, The Reklaws and Jade Eagleson.
The Brussels Fall Fair went ahead as planned at the Four Winds Barn, with Brussels Agricultural Society President Zoellyn Onn saying it was challenging, but ultimately a success.
Despite not finishing the season in first place, the Brussels Tigers were able to claim victory in the Huron County Fastball League year-end tournament.
The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League sparred with the Erie Otters in Clinton as a fundraiser for the Huron Residential Hospice. The teams tied at six, but it was Erie that claimed victory by way of a shootout.
Huron County 2019 Queen of the Furrow Maranda Klaver was crowned Ontario Queen of the Furrow at the International Plowing Match, held near Kemptville. She became the first Huron contestant to win the provincial crown since Melissa Sparling (now Veldman) in 2010.
Cam Cook was named the winner of the Jim McGee Volunteerism Award, presented by the Belgrave Community Centre Board, thanks to his extensive work throughout the Belgrave community.
Those behind the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre were on hand to officially break ground on the project, which had been more than a year in the making.
The fourth Rural Talks to Rural conference went ahead in Brussels at the Four Winds Barn. This was the first time the conference had been held anywhere other than Blyth, going ahead in the village in 2016 and 2018 and being held virtually in 2020.
The votes had been counted and the results of the municipal election were finalized. Paul Heffer was elected as the new reeve of North Huron, while Bernie MacLellan would return as mayor of Huron East.
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Mayor and Huron County Warden Glen McNeil decided to seek another term as the top politician in Huron County, saying he had consulted with his family and colleagues and decided that the time was right to let his name stand once again.
Ty Sebastian, a member of the Brussels Tigers, was named a member of Team Canada with a berth in the Tradestaff World Baseball Softball Confederation Men’s Softball World Cup, set to be held in New Zealand later in the month.
Long-time Grey Ward Councillor Alvin McLellan was chosen as Huron East deputy-mayor, as elected by council.
With the impending retirement of Marty Bedard, the fire chief for Huron East, North Huron and Morris-Turnberry, Kent Readman was hired to fill the position.
Margaret McInroy was chosen as the Brussels and area Citizen of the Year Award winner, thanks to her extensive volunteerism with the Walton Women’s Institute, the Soup and More 2 meal and Melville Presbyterian Church.
Lissa Kolkman was named the Blyth Citizen of the Year thanks to her work with the Friends of the Village of Blyth, while Karen Webster from the Wingham area was chosen as the first-ever Huron Citizen of the Year. Webster’s work with the Blyth Repository of History and many other local organizations appealed to the judges.
Blyth Councillor Kevin Falconer was chosen to be North Huron deputy-reeve by North Huron Council. He defeated East Wawanosh Councillors Chris Palmer and Anita van Hittersum to earn the position.
Blyth and Brussels United Church Student Minister Alex Jebson was ordained in Brussels, making him a Reverend.
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Mayor Glen McNeil was acclaimed to a second, two-year term as Huron County Warden when no one else opted to challenge him for the position.
The Huron County Plowmen’s Association held a special day for Ontario Queen of the Furrow Maranda Klaver at the Seaforth Legion. The day brought people together and honoured Klaver’s achievement, which made all of Huron County proud.
The Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, which was born out of the death of Blyth firefighter and Ontario Provincial Police officer Dave Mounsey, reached a milestone by donating its 150th defibrillator since the charity was founded in 2009.
The Blyth Festival announced that it is planning a seven-show season for 2023 across the Memorial Hall and Harvest Stage performance areas.
The second Blyth Festival 10x10 Art Auction raised nearly $12,000 for the Blyth Festival, returning after a successful first auction in the winter of 2020.
Seaforth’s Charlene O’Reilly was named the winner of the 2022 Sandra Thompson Memorial Accessibility Champion Award by the Huron County Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Team Canada, featuring Ty Sebastian of Brussels, won a silver medal in New Zealand at the World Softball Championships.
The Inspiring our Future campaign to raise money for the renovation and expansion of the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre exceeded its lofty fundraising goal of $2 million, with a total in excess of $2.4 million and counting.