Haldimand Museums Reopen to the Public

Haldimand Museums is excited to announce the reopening of its three sites to the public following recent pandemic closures.

As of Tuesday July 27, Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum in Selkirk and Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre in Caledonia will be open to visitors, along with the already-reopened Heritage Centre located in the Cayuga Public Library.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to check out a diverse range of on-site and online programming and activities for the summer and fall, including:

You Can’t Live Without It, the newest exhibit at the Heritage Centre—located at 19 Talbot Street, Cayuga—runs until September 30 and highlights the history of advertising and how this form of communication was and is used by businesses to promote their wares and activities.

On August 18 at 1:00 pm, join Heritage Centre staff via Zoom for the presentation Historical Kitchen Gardens, which looks at how early settlers tended their kitchen gardens, a vital part of their families’ survival. Advance registration at www.link.haldimandcounty.ca.

Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre (80 Caithness Street, Caledonia) tips its cap to the history of headgear with A Head for Fashion, an exhibition featuring some very unique hats, their significance and the stories they tell.

Edinburgh Square will also be offering in-person its popular summer Discovery Days workshops for children during the month of August – from arts and science to mystery and mayhem. Check out www.link.haldimandcounty.ca for a complete list of Discovery Days programs and to register.

Stop by the Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum to experience The Life and Times of Lyric Poet Wilson MacDonald, with displays highlighting the history of rural education and the heritage of the surrounding community. This original one-room school house is located at 3513 Rainham Road, Selkirk.

Registration for all Haldimand Museums programs and special events is open, and residents and visitors can reserve their space using the County’s online reservation system www.link.haldimandcounty.ca or by visiting the Haldimand County office in Cayuga.

Pandemic-related protocols which allow patrons to safely explore our local arts, heritage and culture remain in place. Visitors to Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum and Edinburgh Square Heritage and Cultural Centre will be required to wear a non-medical face mask and physical distance while on site. Visitors are encouraged to book their visit in advance where possible. A maximum number of four patrons may be admitted at one time, with each visit limited to 45 minutes. Visitors without a prior reservation may be admitted if capacity allows.

At this time, the archives and reference collections located within the Haldimand Museums sites and all in-person services will remain closed until further notice. These services continue to be available upon request through email at museums@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

Paddle Art Tour Haldimand (PATH) an Ideal Way to Enjoy Local Talent in Parks Throughout the County

Haldimand County is pleased to announce the official launch of its newest outdoor public art initative on Saturday, July 10.

The Paddle Art Tour Haldimand (PATH) is a celebration of the municipality’s local talent and the importance of the Grand River and Lake Erie to Haldimand County.

Haldimand County residents and visitors will be inspired by 24 unique designs created by 23 local artists who used wooden paddles—hand made by high school students—to create art portraying the area’s natural landscapes, wildlife, history and much more.

The paddles have been installed throughout the County with the generous assistance of Dunnville Silo. Haldimand County also gratefully acknowledges the support of Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) for tourism businesses in southern Ontario in completing the project.

For those interested in a self-guided tour of the PATH, a map of the locations, as well as contest information for anyone who manages to visit all or most of the sites, can be found on the County’s website. Printed copies of the map may be picked up at the Haldimand County Administration Building, Libraries or by calling 905-318-5932 extension 6370.

When you are out enjoying these public spaces, please comply with current public health orders and maintain physical distancing at all times.

Haldimand Playbook is this Summer’s Source for All Things Recreation, Leisure and Culture

If you’re looking to make new summer memories, the Haldimand Playbook—which hit resident mailboxes this week and is also available online—is your guide to our County and all it has to offer.

The Playbook includes information about registering for summer aquatics and camp programming, heritage and culture workshops and Library programming.

If you’d rather take a less scheduled approach to your plans, visit our splash pads or wading pool to cool off on a hot day. Enjoy our parks and greenspaces including skate parks, ball diamonds, tennis and multi-use courts and picnic areas in several communities as well as disc golf in Caledonia’s LaFortune Park. Visit one of our many trails and pathways throughout the County and along the Grand River.

If tennis is something you’ve always wanted to try, the County is hosting an Introduction to Tennis program, offered in Caledonia, Dunnville and Jarvis. Check the County’s website for more details.

For anyone looking to explore the farthest reaches of the County there are two new tours: the geotour is suitable for adventurers of all ages and skill levels, with twenty geocaches stashed throughout Haldimand, while the public art tour is a County-wide display of 24 handmade wooden paddles painted by local artists. Details are available online and both tours include ongoing contests.

Remember to stop and enjoy a meal or snack at our local eateries, or hit the local shops to experience the County’s many unique offerings as you build out your Haldimand experience.

As always during these unusual times, we ask that you follow the current provincial and public health COVID-19 guidelines when visiting our parks, facilities and trails or participating in programming and activities. Please be respectful of others and do not litter; dispose of garbage or take out what you brought in.

The Playbook also includes a survey—on the back cover or online—about how the County can better stay connected to you. Please let us know how we can best communicate with you!

Visit Haldimand County’s Administration Building or Library Branches for your free copy of the Playbook, or check out the County’s website at https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/recreation-guide/.

Haldimand County Launches Outdoor Dining Campaign

With restrictions being lifted, and the summer season well underway,  Haldimand County is pleased to highlight all the amazing outdoor dining options available throughout the County via an upcoming social media campaign.

The campaign, taking place over the next several weeks, will promote the various outdoor dining options,  and can be found at tourismhaldimand.ca. This new landing page features an interactive map and highlights all the participating locations.

“The hospitality sector including restaurants have struggled throughout the pandemic . With the recent announcement of the Province moving into stage two, we believe that it is now more important than ever to remind local residents that all of their favorite dining experiences are opening up again” said Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism.

With over 30 patios, food trucks, and outdoor windows, serving ice cream made locally, Lake Erie perch, and everything in between, there is always a new experience around the corner.

To browse the featured outdoor dining listings and explore the interactive map, visit tourismhaldimand.ca. Stay updated with new additions on our Tourism Instagram and Facebook. For additional information, or if you want to add your business to the local directory,  contact opportunity@haldimandcounty.on.ca or 905-318-5932 ext. 6331.

When you are out enjoying these public spaces, please comply with current public health orders and maintain physical distancing at all times.

Haldimand County Announces “Out and About in Haldimand” GeoTour

If you are looking for a new local adventure this summer, check out Haldimand County’s first ever GeoTour!

The GeoTour is a real-world, outdoor treasure-hunting game that uses GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

This is a great activity for any resident, visitor or family that likes the challenge of an outdoor scavenger hunt combined with a chance to check out the County’s beautiful parks and natural areas.

More than twenty geocaches have been tucked into parks and public properties throughout the County. Anyone completing the Tour by December can redeem their ‘passport’ to receive a specially-designed “Out and About In Haldimand” geocoin.

To learn more geocaching and the tour, including a ‘how to’ video, visit https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/festivals-events/2021-geocache/.

Haldimand County, OPP, GRCA Encourage Water Safety

Haldimand County, OPP and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) encourages all local residents and visitors to the County to take personal responsibility and make water safety for themselves and their children a priority this summer. It is extremely important for everyone to be aware of safe boating and swimming practices while enjoying the waterways in Haldimand County.

On Tuesday June 8, 2021 at 2:53 p.m., OPP responded to the dam area of the Grand River in Caledonia for a report of a dangerous condition. A concerned passerby noticed a group of youths walking along and swimming in the dam area.

Investigation revealed the youths entered a prohibited area, marked by red and white danger signs, and into the water. Fortunately no one was injured and all parties were accounted for. Tragedy can happen very quickly and the danger of the waters should never be underestimated.

Every year, emergency service personnel respond to many marine related calls including stranded boaters, people fishing or swimming in unsafe areas. Many times, misadventure can lead to tragedy.

It can’t be stressed enough that everyone using the waterways understand the importance of not swimming or boating in prohibited areas. The dam areas in Dunnville and Caledonia are often used by individuals but the water conditions are extremely dangerous.

’Run of the river’ dams, like those in Caledonia and Dunnville may not be as visible from upstream and pose a great risk to river users who disregard warning signs. Like larger dams, low-head dams can also create an underwater recirculating current downstream that is nearly impossible to escape. This current can be so strong that it has the ability to pull people under water, even while wearing a lifejacket. Never swim, walk on, fish, or boat near these dams.

GRCA dams are marked by red and white danger signs. There are also fences, buoys and booms warning you to keep out. You should always:

  • Stay a safe distance outside of the marked danger areas when fishing, boating and swimming
  • Stay off all dams. Use only approved walkways or observation areas.

All parents and caregivers are encouraged to speak with their children about water safety and the dangers of prohibited areas.

The prevention of drownings requires law enforcement efforts and public education but most importantly, prevention starts with you.

There is no one single cause that leads to drownings but there are common contributors. Basic safety practices such as learning to swim at an early age; wearing a lifejacket or a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while on a vessel or in water; adult supervision of children while swimming; and not drinking and boating can make the difference between surviving, or not.

OPP is also reminding all boaters to ensure they have all of the required safety equipment on board as well as all the required documents to operate a vessel.

For more information about dam safety, visit the GRCA’s website at www.grandriver.ca/en/our-watershed/safety-around-dams

For more information regarding water safety, visit the Lifesaving Society website at www.lifesavingsociety.com/water-safety

For more information on boating safety, visit the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety

Haldimand County Summer Program Registration Opens June 14

Summer is quickly approaching and the Haldimand County Summer Programs Team has been hard at work creating plans for a safe return to day camps and aquatic programs!

This summer will see the return of Camp HaldiFUN, Camp Creative Campers and the Leadership Initiative in a variety of locations: Caledonia, Cayuga, Dunnville, Hagersville and Jarvis.  Fun will be the focus as staff make sure every day at camp is filled with a variety of activities, crafts and games.

If you’re looking to cool off this summer, visit one of the County’s three outdoor pools located in Caledonia, Dunnville and Hagersville for a swim or for some lessons. Watch the Haldimand County website and social media accounts for a pool opening announcement coming soon!

Safety measures related to COVID-19 will be in place to ensure everyone has a safe camp or aquatics experience.

Pre-registration for public and fitness swims will be required again this summer. Residents can book free public/fitness swim slots using the County’s online registration system (link.haldimandcounty.ca) or by calling Haldimand County customer service at (905) 318-5932. Please note there will be an overall reduction in the number of public swim spots available to comply with social distancing requirements, and participants are encouraged to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Registration opens on Monday, June 14 for day camps and aquatic programs; you can register by using the County’s online registration system or in-person at the Haldimand County Administration Building in Cayuga.

For more details regarding the camp and swim programs, contact the Summer Coordinators at (905) 318-5932 ext. 8383.

Make a splash this summer!!

Haldimand County Launches New Tourism And Business-Focused Social Media Accounts

Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism division is launching a new Instagram and Facebook accounts to support local tourism and business growth.

The new Instagram account, @TourismHaldimand, will promote tourism opportunities in Haldimand County and create a demand for local products and experiences (similar to the pre-existing Facebook page @HaldimandCountyTourism).

“The new Instagram account will enhance our tourism marketing efforts by portraying Haldimand County as a destination worth exploring to a broader audience,” said Lidy Romanuk, the County’s Manager of Economic Development & Tourism. “The account will provide us with an avenue to reach a new demographic of potential visitors. Our hope is to showcase high quality and positive experiences, build a following and collaborate with businesses to bolster local tourism,” Romanuk noted.

The new Facebook page – @BusinessHaldimand – will focus on economic development and target current and prospective business owners in Haldimand. It will be used to create an online community, distribute valuable information and celebrate local businesses.

“Haldimand County is a great place to do business and we want to further showcase the county’s potential, diversity and thriving business community,” said Romanuk.

Residents are encouraged to follow the accounts below for the most up-to-date information on tourism and business-related matters within the community – like resources for business owners (e.g. grant opportunities), special events, things to do and places to shop or visit.

Tourism Instagram: @tourismhaldimand

Tourism Facebook: @HaldimandCountyTourism

Business Facebook: @BusinessHaldimand

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.