Month: September 2021

Flooding closes Innisfil road

The 3rd Line east of Sideroad 20 is closed due to flooding.

Town operations workers are at the scene with a portable pump draining water from the area, which is near Gilford.

Heavy rains yesterday and today contributed to the flooding on the 3rd Line, which is historically one of the first areas in town to succumb to high water.

Ditches, streams and rivers were swelling today in many areas of Innisfil.

The Nottawasaga Conservation Authority and Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority both issued localized flood warnings today.

Pharmacy robber arrested

COLLINGWOOD – A man faces a charge of robbery with violence connected to an incident at Stuart Ellis IDA Sunday afternoon.

Just before 2 p.m., OPP say a man entered the Hurontario Street pharmacy, told an employee he had a gun and requested narcotics medication. He obtained it and fled, police say.

Police got a description of the man, and later that evening he was spotted by an officer patrolling Birch Street, near Sixth Atreet.

A 26-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested and charged. He was held for a bail hearing in Barrie.

Fiery crash

Paul Novosad/Photo

At 1:42 p.m. on March 22, a pickup truck on 10 Sideroad in Bradford West Gwillimbury stopped at the stop sign before entering the intersection at Line 5 – where it collided with an eastbound car.

The truck T-boned the smaller vehicle, a Chevrolet Cobalt; the force of the collision knocked the car into a ditch, where it burst into flames. Both the female driver of the car, a resident of  Tottenham, and the driver of the pick-up, a Bradford male, were able to safely escape their vehicles without serious injury.

South Simcoe Police and BWG Fire & Emergency Services responded to the call; Firefighters were just returning from another collision on County Rd. 88 when they were called to the scene. 

Event kicks off new MacLaren exhibitions in Barrie

It’s a Friday morning and every single table in the lobby of the MacLaren Art Centre is full of people chatting and drinking coffee.

A woman browses in the centre’s boutique while a student does homework by the fireplace.

This is not your average art gallery.


“We really are a hub in the Barrie community,” said associate currator/registar Renee van der Avoird.

“Some people might think we just have art, but we have so much more. We even hold music events. Last night, BarrieFolk held a concert here.”

And if you’ve never been to the MacLaren before, she said there’s no better time to visit than now.

“We aren’t scary,” she said, adding volunteers are always on duty to answer questions and even give tours.

The art centre hosts a reception for its spring 2016 exhibitions March 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. You are invited to come in, check out the art and meet the artists.  

Associate curator/collections manager Emily McKibbon said the MacLaren strives to make art accessible to everyone.

“In every gallery we have wall texts and binders that explain the art,” she said.

This year, the MacLaren has added iPads to help you learn even more about the artists and exhibitions. McKibbon said the iPads are helping visitors connect with the art in a deeper way.

“Maybe you aren’t a big art fan. But maybe you like working with your hands and you can appreciate the welding techniques that the artist used. You can read about that on the iPad.”

And it’s not just established artists who get to shine at The MacLaren.

Among the spring exhibitions is a joint exhibit featuring the work of Georgian College students and Wasaga Beach residents Libby Mourant and Ryan Sobkovich.

“This is a great honour to show my work in a proper gallery like this while I’m still a student,” Mourant said.

She will graduate from the  School of Design and Visual Arts program at Georgian College in April. Her exhibition at the MacLaren focuses on motherhood and pregnancy, a subject with which the pregnant artist is very familiar

She and Sobkovich will be at the MacLaren March 24 to answer questions about their work.

For more, visit

Mentally ill young woman charged with assaulting an officer gets jail sentence

As the lone officer approached, a distraught Shania Paige, 19, held out a pocket knife and locked eyes with her.

Just as Paige planned, Const. Erica Sinclair drew her gun, but instead of shooting, she kicked Paige in the legs, sending her to the ground where the two scuffled in a snowbank.

"It’s not easy to kill yourself," Paige later told police as she sat in a jail cell, arrested that January night for assaulting a police officer. She’s been in jail ever since.

"I’ve been wanting to get shot by police for a month now. Drug overdoses don’t work," she told police. "Even if you stab yourself in the stomach, you might screw up your life but you might not die."

The sad details of Paige’s case were revealed in a Barrie courtroom last week.

She suffers from bipolar disorder, cuts herself and has tried repeatedly to end her life.

She used to reach out to the suicide hotline almost daily — but not anymore after police charged her with public mischief last June for making "bogus" calls.

"She was punished because she didn’t actually kill herself," her outraged lawyer, Angela McLeod, told the judge. "She is not able to use that service any longer for fear she will be arrested."

So the next time Paige found herself in crisis, back in November, she went to the mental-health crisis service at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie. Now she’s banned from using that service as well.

In that case, Paige refused to let go of the bottle of hand sanitizer.

"She became agitated and refused to give back the bottle of hand sanitizer," Crown attorney Jenna Dafoe explained. "She became belligerent."

Two security officers came to "de-escalate" the situation, and a "reasonable use of force" was used to escort her out of the hospital, court heard. But somehow in the melee, her arm was broken in three places, requiring surgery. She was also charged with another assault.

"She was in the throes of a crisis, yet she was being kicked out of the hospital … because she was obsessed with a bottle of hand sanitizer," said McLeod, who noted Paige remains under a trespass order from the Barrie hospital.

"She had no where else to go."

Dafoe asked for a nine-month jail sentence for both assault charges.

"Ms. Paige’s behaviour is escalating," Dafoe said, noting there have been 101 mental-health cases involving police since February. "The previous programs and supports have not proven to be efficient … Ms. Paige is getting worse.

"When she snaps, she causes great and immediate danger … Our officers have to make snap decisions and then are scrutinized by the public."

In his ruling, Judge Nyron Dwyer praised the police officer for preventing a potentially disastrous outcome, but shot down the Crown’s request for a lengthy jail sentence.

"Unfortunately, our criminal justice system seems to be the repository for people with mental-health illnesses," the judge said.

He handed Paige a three-month jail sentence with three years’ probation.


Judge Nyron Dwyer:

"This young woman needs treatment. She has bipolar disorder. It is not of her choosing. She is just as much a member of the community as anyone else."

"The police are hamstrung. The mental-health services are hamstrung."

"Just because solutions may be difficult, we can’t allow ourselves to get to a point where general deterrence for these people means a lengthy jail sentence."

Defence lawyer Angela McLeod:

"Sadly, this is all too reminiscent of the Ashley Smith case and other young women like her who have taken their lives while in custody because of a lack of resources to deal with mental illness."

"How is it that despite the devastating outcomes of cases like Ashley Smith and Sammy Yatim, we are still having these problems? Have we learned nothing?"

"A bottle of hand sanitizer? Really?"

In a letter submitted to the court, Alanna Hargan, a Central North Correction Centre representative, asks the judge not to send Shania Paige to jail:

"We have seen the consequences of young girls with (mental illness) in the institutions and how a lack of support can lead to devastating effects."

Collingwood Peewee AE cap strong seaosn with OMHA title

The Collingwood Peewee AE Blackhawks are the OMHA Champions.


The team defeated the Glanbrook Rangers 3-0 in the best of five series to win the championship.

The Blackhawks fell in game won, but came back strong in game two and took an overtime win in game three before a 2-0 win in game four sealed the series. 

The team has had a strong season, having won the Mooretown Invitational Tournament, the Regional and International Silver Stick Tournaments, the OMHA finals, and are also in the Pee Wee AE Georgian Bay Championship finals. The season record is 54 wins, four losses and two ties.

The team includes Ben Cornell, Joshua Creech, Jack Foubert, Jack Garbutt, Thomas Hearn, Jared Hodgkinson, Aidan Hull, Warren Johnston, Ty Johnston, Ethan King, Jeyla Ling, Mason Parker, Maxim Porebski, Owen Rush, Tyler Sweat, and Jacob Ventrella.

Renovations at CFB Borden, Meaford for refugees cost $2.8M: report

The federal government spent almost $6.4 million to prepare temporary accommodations for Syrian refugees at five Canadian Forces bases.

Work to prepare C and was stopped by the government in February.

In a written response to questions from Conservative MP James Bezan, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the upgrades created space for 6,159 refugees at five military bases.

At CFB Borden, $2.64 million was spent to accommodate up to 1,500 refugees. It includes the cost of insulating 236 Weatherhaven shelters and reskinning shelters that were deficient, renting equipment to power and heat tent structures, purchasing and installing security cameras, and changing service contracts to absorb additional usage. 

The government spent $255,000 at CFB Meaford to house 335 refugees.

The work completed at the Meaford base was to install shelter for a social, recreational, cultural and worship site, upgrade an ablution building, and add barrier free access ramps for Weatherhavens.

The federal government spent $400,000 for upgrades at CFB Kingston, $2.82 million at CFB Valcartier, $257,000 at CFB Trenton.

According to Sajjan’s written response, the Department of National Defence will absorb the costs and current operations or capabilities will not be impacted. 

Bradford man faces 2 charges

BRADFORD – A local man faces theft charges after a bottle of alcohol was removed from the liquor store here Monday afternoon, March 21.

South Simcoe police were called to the Holland Street West LCBO at 2 p.m. after a man was seen concealing a liquor bottle on his person and leaving the store without paying.

Officers located the man in a nearby restaurant, and returned the unopened bottle.

A 61-year-old man was arrested and charged with theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property. He has a May court date. 

Group of former Goodwill employees have been helping colleagues following store closures

Former Goodwill employees have come together to raise more than $100,000 to help their out-of-work colleagues, but uncertainty remains as the volunteer group prepares to disband.

"I had worked for the company for a few years and had a good understanding of the challenges a lot of the employees had, and I just felt very deeply that this situation would really put people into distress," said Gladys Okine, who worked with Goodwill in Toronto since 2012, until 16 stores were closed in January.

Employees Goodwill locations in the eastern, central and northern Ontario regions showed up to work Jan. 16 only to find out the stores had been closed. A few days later, the company filed for bankruptcy, leaving hundreds of employees in the lurch.

That’s when Okine reached out to several co-workers, 20 of whom helped form a group called Renew the Good.

"The group is made up of volunteers who have been impacted by this, and it’s important they all start to process what’s happened and think about what they have to do for their lives and family now," she said, explaining why Renew the Good will disband Thursday.

Lucia Ruffolo worked at Orillia’s Goodwill for more than 16 years. She is among the former employees who are part of Renew the Good.

"I knew what I was feeling and going through, and if I was that overwhelmed, I could just imagine what they were going through, so I had to volunteer my time," said Ruffolo.

The first step, she explained, was to make phone calls to the most vulnerable ex-employees — those with physical and intellectual disabilities — to make sure they were OK.

"Second step: Gladys had decided, ‘Let’s see if we can try and raise some money to make sure that they financially were OK,’" she added.

The goal was to to raise money to help employees with urgent needs, such as medicine, rent and food.

Soon, said Ruffolo, volunteers realized the most vulnerable employees weren’t the only ones in need of assistance.

"We passed it out to all of the employees, saying, ‘(If) you’re in need of something, give us a phone call. Let’s see what we can do for you.’"

The fact Renew the Good is made up of former Goodwill employees made a big difference, she added.

"It wasn’t just somebody on the phone; it was somebody going through exactly what they were going through," she said. "So, to be able to hear someone on the other side saying, ‘Yeah, I lost my job, too,’ made that personal connection."

A majority wanted to know if the store closures were temporary.

"It wasn’t clear in the beginning," said Okine. "We had been closed temporarily and weren’t clear on the status of the organization and whether it was going to be reopening. It was very confusing and there was no way to communicate what was happening."

Once the decision to close the stores had been finalized, "I knew that would definitely be a challenge — helping employees and colleagues figure out what to do next, how to move through this." she said.

From January until now, the group has helped colleagues connect with several resources, such as the federal Wage Earner Protection Program, Ontario Disability Support Program, employment agencies and even post-secondary institutions for those who wanted to return to school.

And even though the volunteers will go their own ways at the end of this week, Okine said, third-party referrals for confidential and individual matters will still be available.

"Everybody has been very, very helpful," she said. "I’m so thankful to all the volunteers, because none of this would have been possible without them. They will be looking for work as well and I hope people will be able to see what these volunteers have done. They’re very capable, very talented people."

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