Trail Grand Openings Met With Enthusiasm By Residents And Visiting Recreation Seekers

On Saturday, April 27, Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt and members of Council hosted grand opening celebrations at the award-winning Cayuga Grand Vista and Gypsum Mine Tract trails. Dozens of residents and visitors attended, despite the blustery weather, to explore the new routes and learn about Haldimand’s history.

“Both the Cayuga Grand Vista and Gypsum Mine Tract are fantastic additions to the community,” said Mayor Ken Hewitt. “They offer new opportunities to stay active, learn about our history and connect with nature,” he added.

At the Cayuga Grand Vista celebration, attendees were introduced to stories of the late Honourable Madame Justice Helen Kinnear and Honourable Dr. Justice T. David Marshall – both Cayuga-born figures with extraordinary accomplishments – whom the trail’s two scenic lookouts were named after. Justice Kinnear defied early gender stereotypes to become a history-making pioneer in the legal profession, while Dr. Justice Marshall achieved national recognition in the fields of medicine and law. Family members of both Justice Kinnear and Dr. Justice Marshall were present and acknowledged by Council prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

At the Gypsum Mine Tract opening, attendees learned about the history of gypsum mining that played a major role in Caledonia’s development. From 1838 – 2016, 5 mines were established and eventually decommissioned in both Caledonia and York; gypsum was extracted from 65 feet below ground and hauled to the surface by donkeys and horses underneath what is now the trail.

“The community response to both of these new trails has been extremely positive and they will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come,” said Hewitt.

More information on Haldimand County trail routes, parks and recreation activities is available on the Haldimand County website.


Haldimand County Council, staff, Trails Advisory Committee members and family members of Dr. Justice David T. Marshall and the Honourable Madame Justine Helen Kinnear cutting the Cayuga Grand Vista trail ribbon.

From left to right: Janet deVos (Haldimand County Trails Advisory Committee), Sheila Wilson (Haldimand County), Jill Morison, Fred Morison, Mrs. T. David Marshall, Don Boyle (Haldimand County), Brittany Morison, David Morison, Albert Morison, Darline Kinnear, Mayor Ken Hewitt (Haldimand County), (Behind Ken is Murray Kinnear), Ward 2 Councillor John Metcalfe (Haldimand County), Ward 3 Councillor Dan Lawrence (Haldimand County), and Megan Turner (Haldimand County).

Haldimand County’s New Central Administration Building On Track For Fall 2019 Completion

On April 16, 2019, County staff presented Council with an update on the new Central Administration Building’s construction progress. A number of major construction milestones have been completed to date, and the building is on track to be completed by fall 2019.

As of the April 16 update, the building’s structural steel frame is 99% complete. The roof deck has been completed and installation of electrical equipment, sanitary piping, fire suppression systems, spray foam insulation and door frames is currently underway.

Over the next two months, several key components of the building will be complete including roofing, masonry (stone work), spray foam insulation. Work on interior drywall will commence shortly, the front entrance’s structural steel canopy will be installed, and road work – including site grading – will begin on Chippewa St. with favourable weather.

“The progress we’ve seen over the past few weeks is exciting, and it’s great to see the building take shape. A great deal of time and effort has gone into getting the project to this point, & I look forward to the moment we can welcome and serve the community in this space,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

Plans for a new building and municipal service delivery model have been in the development stages since 2015, following a comprehensive Administration Accommodation Review focused on enhancing customer service, maximizing administrative/operational efficiencies and ensuring long-term cost effectiveness. After thorough analysis and community consultation, a consolidated service model – involving the construction of a new administration building – was selected by Council. Construction on the new building began in May 2018.

All services currently available at the County’s satellite offices will be offered at the new building, and new online tools will be introduced to provide more 24/7 services to residents. Library branches will be retrofitted with ‘Community Hubs’ – computer and information stations designed to connect resident with County news & online services. Library staff will be available to provide instruction and guidance on how to make use of online services, like how to pay taxes or water bills online.

More information about the new Central Administration Building – including construction updates – will be shared on the County website and social media channels as the project progresses.

 

Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre wins Carol Ritchie Scotch Thistle Award

Tourism Caledonia recently recognized Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre for its presentation of the history of Caledonia through education/outreach activities and the numerous permanent & temporary exhibits available for tourists.

Edinburgh Square was also commended for the many improvements made to the 1857 building, an architectural design of the renowned John Turner.

The old Town Hall with its original 1857 jail cell is appealing to visitors from near and far. The permanent display highlighting the gypsum mining industry along the Grand River is an interesting feature. Family ancestors researched in the Gillespie Clark Reference Library attract tourists with Caledonia connections. The library contains books, files and historic documents relating to Caledonia’s rich history. The collection of surviving editions of the Grand River Sachem from 1856 to the present day is also valuable for visitor research.

Cayuga Grand Vista Trail Wins International Design Award For Architecture

Haldimand County’s Cayuga Grand Vista trail was recognized for its innovative design and architecture at the International Design Awards. The trail was awarded a ‘Silver’ for architectural design in the ‘arches, bridges, viaducts and gateways’ subcategory. This award follows the trail’s recognition at the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence in January 2019.

The International Design Awards (IDA) exist to recognize, celebrate and promote legendary design vision and to uncover emerging talent in architecture, interior, product, graphic, and fashion design. The firm contracted to design the trail, Seferian Design Group of Burlington, put forward the award nomination.

“This is incredible news. I am so proud of this award, our team, and the project being recognized on the international stage,” said Brad Smith, Seferian Design Group’s Senior Landscape Architect. Seferian also won a Landscape Ontario Award of Excellence in January 2019 for the Cayuga Grand Vista design.

The Cayuga Grand Vista’s main trailhead is located behind the Cayuga Courthouse at 55 Munsee St. N. The trail guides pedestrians and cyclists on a scenic loop from the courthouse over the Grand River on the restored CN bridge to King George St. and Maple Rd. (secondary trailhead) and back to the courthouse via Talbot St. E. and Munsee St. N. Two lookout platforms on the east and west sides of the bridge offer picturesque views of the river and its natural surroundings. Parking is available at the main trailhead behind the Courthouse.

“Seeing the concept of this trail come to life – especially restoration of the bridge – was an amazing thing to witness. It’s a fantastic addition to the community that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

A Grand Opening Celebration for the Cayuga Grand Vista trail will be held on April 27 at 10:30 am, 2019; full details will be announced shortly.

Note: Trail photo courtesy of Seferian Design Group

Cayuga Grand Vista Trail Wins Award Of Excellence From Landscape Ontario

On Monday, January 8, 2019 Haldimand County’s Cayuga Grand Vista trail was recognized for its innovative design by Landscape Ontario, the province’s leading horticultural trades association. The firm contracted to design the trail – Seferian Design Group of Burlington – put forward the nomination and was honoured with an Award of Excellence.

The Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence is an annual juried competition that recognizes design and craftsmanship in landscape construction, maintenance and design projects created by their members. More than 500 guests attend the awards reception annually to applaud their peers and recognize innovation in the green industry.

“We are very proud of this project and pleased that it was recognized by our peers at Landscape Ontario. It has been a pleasure working with Haldimand County and bringing this exciting vision to life,” said Brad Smith, Seferian’s Senior Landscape Architect.

The Cayuga Grand Vista trailhead is located behind the Cayuga Courthouse at 55 Munsee St. N. The trail guides pedestrians and cyclists on a scenic loop from the courthouse over the Grand River on the restored CN bridge to King George St. and Maple Rd. and back to the courthouse via Talbot St. E. and Munsee St. N. Two lookout platforms on the east and west sides of the bridge offer picturesque views of the river and its natural surroundings.

Residents and visitors have been on the trail regularly and enjoying the beautiful views from the bridge since it opened last November. “If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out the trail yet, I highly recommend you do. It is a gem in Haldimand County – something we can all be proud of and celebrate for years to come,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “We are thrilled with the positive response to this new community addition and look forward to the Official Grand Opening Celebration in early spring.”

Official Grand Opening Celebration details will be announced in the near future.

Note: Linked photo courtesy of Seferian Design Group.

Explore The History of Christmas at Haldimand County Museum and Archives

On Wednesday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m., Haldimand County Museum and Archives will host its 12th Annual Christmas Tea & Talk. This year, curator Karen Richardson will explore the history of Christmas celebrations and traditions over the past 235 years.

“The earliest settlers to Haldimand County were loyalists. Despite facing many hardships, they continued to celebrate Christmas with traditions and customs from their home countries,” said Richardson. Loyalist settlers of German descent brought the idea of a Christmas tree to Upper Canada. Decorations were natural and included pine cones, nuts, holly berries, feathers and chains made of cranberries and popcorn,” she added.

Even the custom of “decking the halls” – draping walls with evergreen garland – came from the British Isles and was introduced over a century ago by settlers in their Upper Canada cabins. The Victorian era ushered in a much more elaborate Christmas tree; while homemade ornaments were still utilized, precious glass ornaments and gilled gold began to adorn the tree. WWI had a major influence on holiday celebrations, as well. Trees were decorated with a patriotic theme and included union jack flags and paper ornaments.

In addition to Richardson’s talk, attendees will be treated to delicious homemade scones, tea and sweet treats. The cost to register is $10 per person, and pre-registration is required. Interested individuals may register online or at any Haldimand County office using program code 8060.

Cayuga Grand Vista and Gypsum Mine Tract now open to the public!

Two new trails in Haldimand County, the Cayuga Grand Vista (Cayuga) and Gypsum Mine Tract (Caledonia – York), are now open to the public.

The Cayuga Grand Vista trailhead is located behind the Cayuga Courthouse at 55 Munsee St. N. The trail guides pedestrians and cyclists on a scenic loop from the courthouse over the Grand River on the restored CN bridge to King George St. and Maple Rd. and back to the courthouse via Talbot St. E. and Munsee St. N. Two lookout platforms on the east and west sides of the bridge offer picturesque views of the river and its natural surroundings.

The Gypsum Mine Tract can be accessed from two points: Haldimand Rd. 9 at Nelles St. E (York) and McClung Rd. at Maclachlan Ave (Caledonia). The trail’s name is intended to reflect the historical importance of gypsum mining in the area. From 1838 – 2016, 5 mines were established and eventually decommissioned in both Caledonia and York; gypsum was extracted from 65 feet below ground and hauled to the surface by donkeys and horses underneath what is now the trail. From the access at McClung Rd., the trail runs east towards Haldimand Rd. 9 where it proceeds west and connects to the Rotary Riverside Trail.

“Both the Cayuga Grand Vista and Gypsum Mine Tract are fantastic additions to the community,” said Mayor Ken Hewitt. “From a community vibrancy perspective, they offer new opportunities to stay active, learn about our shared history and connect with nature,” he added.

While both trails are now open to the public, formal grand opening celebrations will be planned and held in the spring. “We’re encouraging everyone to go out and walk, run or cycle the new routes,” said Sheila Wilson, Manager of Community Development & Partnerships. Wilson noted that although Haldimand County trails are not maintained during the winter, they remain open; in snowy conditions, the trails become excellent routes for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. As with all Haldimand County trails, motorized vehicles are not permitted.

Details regarding an official grand opening celebration for the Cayuga Grand Vista and Gypsum Mine Tract trails will be announced in spring 2019.

Haldimand Museums Receive Provincial Grants Totaling $37,914

Annually, Haldimand County’s 3 museums apply for Community Museum Operating Grants (CMOG) offered by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. All Haldimand Museums sites received notice of approval of CMOG funding for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Funding awarded is as follows:

  • Haldimand County Museum and Archives: $12,097
  • Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum: $11,073
  • Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre: $14,744

Museums play a significant role in contributing to lifelong learning and the creation of vibrant, creative communities. Funding through the CMOG program helps strengthen the capacity of organizations and museums to meet heritage-related goals and interpret/protect Ontario’s cultural heritage.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ministry for their continued support of Haldimand museums. The $37,914 awarded will contribute to the continued preservation of our unique heritage through programming, events, exhibitions, preservation and curation activities,” said Anne Unyi, Supervisor of Heritage & Culture for Haldimand County.

Haldimand County’s 3 museums – located in Cayuga (Haldimand County Museum & Archives), Caledonia (Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre) and Selkirk (Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum) – serve to educate and inspire visitors of all ages through year-round programming, exhibitions and genealogical research assistance.

As a requirement of receiving annual Community Museum Operating Grants (CMOG) from the Ontario Ministry of Culture, the three Haldimand Museums sites are required to demonstrate compliance with the Standards for Community Museums in Ontario, which set out the minimum requirements for the operation of a community museum. All three museums – including the new Heritage Centre – comply with these standards.

In the spring of 2019, the Haldimand County Museum and Archive facility will close and relocate to 19 Talbot Street, Cayuga within the Cayuga Library and Heritage Centre. Artifacts, records and reference materials will be displayed and made available within the new state-of-the-art building. Exhibits, events and educational programs that residents and visitors currently enjoy will continue to be offered at the Talbot Street location.

“Heritage and Culture staff will continue to apply for CMOG funding for all three County owned museums – Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum, Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre and the new Heritage Centre in Cayuga,” said Unyi. “We are looking forward to the Heritage Centre opening and providing a new, accessible and inviting space for visitors to explore our unique history,” she added.

Haldimand County Continues To Improve Capital Project Process

Over the past four years Haldimand County has substantially increased the number and total dollar value of capital projects designed to meet the growing needs of Haldimand County residents, while at the same time, renew and sustain the County’s existing infrastructure.

During this period, the number of active capital projects has grown from about 500 projects per year to over 600 projects per year and the funding has increased from approximately $100 million to over $120 million. The delivery of the capital project program has largely been accommodated with existing staff.

While the vast majority of these projects – over 97% – are delivered on time and within budget there are always one or two projects that do not meet Council, staff and public expectations related to timing and/or the final product. Following Haldimand County’s philosophy of continuous improvement, Council has directed staff to review the capital project program and seek ways to maximize project successes.

As part of this directive, County staff will be reviewing ways to improve and strengthen the ability to meet these expectations by considering measures such as requiring contractor prequalification for more projects; increased penalties to contractors to enforce start and end dates for construction contracts; and, reviewing holdback types and amounts to ensure contractor performance.

It is anticipated that this review and implementation of appropriate changes to capital project contract management will further reduce the number of projects that are not delivered satisfactorily.

Cayuga Grand Vista Trail Construction Nearing Completion

Construction on Haldimand County’s newest trail, the Cayuga Grand Vista, is nearing completion. Work on the highly anticipated trail project has been underway since spring 2018, and the route will open to the public later this fall.

The Cayuga Grand Vista trailhead is located behind the Cayuga Courthouse at 55 Munsee St. N. The trail will take pedestrians and cyclists on a scenic loop from the courthouse over the Grand River on the restored CN bridge to King George St. and Maple Rd. and back to the courthouse via Talbot St. E. and Munsee St. N. Two lookout platforms on the east and west sides of the bridge will offer picturesque views of the river and its natural surroundings.

Each lookout has been designated with a name of local individuals that have noted accomplishments locally, provincially and federally – the Honourable Madame Justice Helen Kinnear and the Honourable Dr. Justice T. David Marshall. Plaques will be installed at both lookouts with descriptions of their accomplishments.

“The Cayuga Grand Vista is a great addition to the community. It provides an opportunity for recreation and education,” noted Sheila Wilson, Manager, Community Development and Partnerships. “The peaceful setting and naming plaques offer a unique connection to Cayuga’s past,” she continued.

“The trail will be open in the next few weeks,” Wilson added. “We are waiting on the delivery of gates to prevent unauthorized vehicles from accessing the trail. The gates are a standard design feature incorporated into all trails to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety.”

An announcement will be posted on the County website and social media accounts once the construction fences come down and the trail is open for use. Residents are reminded that construction sites are not to be accessed by the public and are requested to call the OPP if they witness vehicles using County parkland or trails.

An official Grand Opening Celebration will be scheduled for early spring of 2019.

An aerial view of the Cayuga Grand Vista trail.

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