Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility News - Haldimand County

Haldimand County seeking public input to modernize and consolidate business licensing by-laws

Haldimand County staff have initiated a project to review, modernize and consolidate its existing business licensing by-laws. The goal of the review is to ensure current by-laws are meeting regulatory requirements, protecting consumers and not imposing unnecessary barriers for businesses.

Haldimand County currently licenses the following businesses:

  • Hired vehicles
  • Mobile food premises
  • Motor vehicle racing businesses
  • Public entertainment events
  • Salvage yards and scrap metal collection bins
  • Pawnbrokers

Additional business types may be considered as part of this review.

Kennels are licensed under the Animal Control By-Law and as such, are not being considered as part of this review.

Staff have created a Business Licensing Review & Consolidation Survey to obtain preliminary public feedback on existing by-laws and gain a better understanding of what the community feels should be included or changed. The online survey is open to both business owners and members of the public, and only takes a few minutes to complete. The survey closes April 30.

A Community Open House will also be held for business owners and members of the public who wish to learn more about business licensing by-laws, provide suggestions or discuss with staff in more detail. The Open House will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Haldimand County Administration Building (Haldimand Room) – 53 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga. Everyone is welcome to attend and registration is not required.

Community feedback will be assessed and considered when developing the new, consolidated by-law.

More information on business licensing by-laws can be found at; updates on the by-law consolidation project will be posted at and shared via social media as they become available.

Haldimand County seeking members for Accessibility Advisory Committee and Haldimand OPP Detachment Board

Haldimand County is currently accepting applications for its Accessibility Advisory Committee and Haldimand OPP Detachment Board (formerly known as the Police Services Board). Interested residents can learn more about the roles and responsibilities of committee members and apply online. Applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Recruitment for boards and committees of Council is typically held every four years with the commencement of a new term of Council. Recruitment for the Accessibility Advisory Committee and Haldimand OPP Detachment Board is occurring now – later in the Council term – as a result of vacancies.

The legislated Accessibility Advisory Committee is made up of county resident volunteers, one Councillor and one member of staff. This committee provides practical knowledge on a wide-range of accessibility and disability concerns including: physical, visual, hearing impairment, intellectual, mental health, seniors’ issues and communication. The Accessibility Advisory Committee meets four times annually, or in emergent cases as required.

While applications for the Accessibility Advisory Committee from all members of the public are welcome, the county encourages individuals with both visible and invisible disabilities – who have unique perspectives based on lived experience – to apply.

The Haldimand OPP Detachment Board establishes priorities, objectives and policies regarding policing in Haldimand County in consultation with the Detachment Commander and Haldimand County Council.

Further information about Haldimand County’s boards and committees – including Terms of Reference, member roles and responsibilities – is available on the Boards and Committees page. Residents are encouraged to review the Terms of Reference prior to submitting their application.

Haldimand County Business Symposium

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Haldimand County Mayor and Council invite all Haldimand County businesses to the 2024 Haldimand Business Symposium. This free networking event will take place on Thursday April 18, 2024 from 5:00 pm -7:30 pm at the Haldimand County Administration Building in Cayuga (53 Thorburn St S)

This year’s event will feature a networking reception and presentations from two guest speakers. “Putting On Your Storytelling Hat: An Introduction to Content Marketing for Business Owners” by Jessica Robinson, Content Manager at The Globe and Mail Content Studio. Jessica will present the fundamentals of storytelling-focused marketing with emphasis on tactics and examples that are relevant to small business owners. Prior to joining The Globe, Jessica told brand stories at Canada’s most beloved magazines including Chatelaine and Maclean’s.

Additionally, Tony Cupido, Research Chair of Sustainable Building Technologies at Mohawk College, presenting “Is Your Business Ready for a Low-Carbon Future” will provide valuable insights and considerations for the future. His research initiatives include the development of an operational performance database for Canada’s award-winning, largest institutional, net-zero energy and zero carbon building, The Joyce Centre.

“The Haldimand Business Symposium presents a chance for Haldimand County to express gratitude to our local businesses for their invaluable contributions in making our community a wonderful place to live and work” said Mayor Bentley.

“The evening will provide a valuable opportunity to network with other local business owners and key business organizations and hear two impactful speakers share information that will support your business” added Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development and Tourism.

Haldimand County Council invite all local business owners, representatives from Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Areas and business organizations across the county to attend this event. There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Visit for more information and to register. Should you have any questions please contact us at (905) 318-5932 ext. 6331.


Register online here:

Haldimand Museums Spring Trivia Night Fundraiser

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Join Haldimand Museums as they host their annual Spring Trivia Night on Thursday, April 18 at the Cayuga Legion, located at 11 Talbot Street West.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. with dinner—including roast beef on a bun, salads and dessert —served at 5:30 pm. A vegetarian option is also available.

Following dinner, a fun-filled evening of friendly competition begins with a spirited pop culture trivia contest. Test your knowledge of recent history, trends and the trivial. Prizes will be awarded for the first- and second-place teams, but no prize is better than bragging rights!

Register your four-person team online at using activity code 26436. The cost per person is $30, and covers both the meal and trivia.

Proceeds from the evening support ongoing Haldimand Museums’ program and exhibition development.

For additional information about this event, contact

Burn Permits

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Haldimand County Emergency Services are reminding the public that there are rules and permits for open air burning. This is both for your safety and the safety of our community. If you are planning any burning activities on your property, it is crucial to approach them with care and diligence. Here is a concise rundown to ensure safe and lawful burning..

Secure a Permit: Prior to igniting any fires, ensure you have the necessary permit. These permits serve as a regulatory measure to monitor burning activities and uphold safety standards. To obtain a permit, please visit the Haldimand County website or attend in person at the Haldimand County Administrative Building, located at 53 Thorburn St South, Cayuga.

Large Burn Piles: For those conducting a “non-recreational” burn, exercise heightened caution. These types of burns can swiftly escalate if not managed effectively. The approved size of a “non-recreational” burn is a maximum of 6m x 6m. Separating large piles into smaller, more manageable piles, and burning one at a time is best practice. Ensure adequate clearance of anything combustible around the burn area. In addition, monitor winds and weather conditions, and have appropriate fire suppression equipment readily available. Never leave the burn unattended.

Property Owners Responsibility: In the event that a fire spirals out of control or a complaint is made which requires the fire department to respond, property owners may be held financially accountable for all associated costs. Once the burn is extinguished, by whatever means, the property owner must ensure the burn area has been returned to its natural, clean condition. Adhering to safe burning practices not only mitigates risks, but also averts potential financial liabilities.

Community Responsibility: Let’s not overlook the collective responsibility we share as members of a community. Practicing safe burning is not just about safeguarding individual properties; it is about fostering a culture of collective safety and responsibility within our community.

To learn more about the Haldimand County Open Air Fire Bylaw, please visit:

Haldimand County Council approves 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget

On February 29, 2024, Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget. The budget results in a total levy requirement of $86,097,640, which equates to an annual residential tax impact of 4.43% or approximately $13.14 per month on an average residential home.

The Operating Budget pays for day to day operations of the County, including (but not limited to) salaries, wages, utilities, insurance and services like running arenas, pools and the public library, maintaining 600+ acres of parks and cemeteries, providing emergency services and garbage collection.

The 2024 budget strives to balance the difficult economic climate being experienced across the province with the necessary requirements to keep Haldimand on pace within other communities.

The increase to the budget can be attributed to inflationary increases to base operational expenditures along with minimal new initiatives in the areas of community health & safety, climate change and technology advancements, all of which are intended to meet the community’s evolving needs and maintain the level of service delivery residents deserve and expect.

“Staff have worked hard under challenging economic circumstances to develop a budget that balances the challenges taxpayers are facing with keeping the municipality moving forward to meet the service expectations of our community,” noted Cathy Case, Chief Administrative Officer.

Case noted that despite facing similar budgetary pressures, the county’s annual tax impact is significantly lower than many of its municipal comparators.

“The 2024 budget maintains the core services our residents expect and introduces some new initiatives in response to our community’s greatest needs. Staff have prepared a budget that accounts for many uncontrollable factors, including decisions made by the province, while ensuring the facilities, services and amenities we provide are sustained for the public we serve,” said Haldimand County Mayor Shelley Bentley.

Key initiatives included within the 2024 Tax-Supported Operating are focused around 5 key themes. Highlights include:

  1. Healthcare & Community Wellness
    – Investing in additional staff at Grandview Lodge to increase direct care for residents and
    provide enhanced coverage
    – Continuing the vital work of the Community Paramedic Program
    – Introducing a Physician Recruitment Strategy to address critical shortages of health care
    practitioners in the community
  2. Community & Customer Service
    – Increasing the annual contribution to the Community Beautification Program, providing
    $80,000 in grant funding to local organizations
    – Introducing new resources to support local business and bolster the local economy
    – Facilitating bi-annual Resident Satisfaction Surveys to ensure services are meeting community
    – Adding additional frontline customer service staff in response to growth and increasing
    demand for services
  3. Workforce Recruitment & Retention
    – Committing to staff recruitment and retention through the implementation of Non-Union
    Compensation Market Review recommendations
  1. Technology
    – Strengthening cybersecurity efforts, increase efficiencies and continue technology advancements
    through the continuation of the Council approved IT division reorganization
    – Adopting an Innovation Fund to enable small-scale technology projects within the organization to
    proceed efficiently
    – Ensuring public-facing communications technologies meet user needs and comply with
    Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation
  2. Climate Change & Emergency Response
    – Enhancing the county’s forestry management program by introducing a new invasive species
    – Allocating additional funding to offer the Rural Water Quality Program on a permanent basis
    – Moving from a part-time Emergency Services Coordinator of Emergency Management/Fire
    Education to a full-time position

On average, a residential property owner can expect their annual property taxes to be allocated as follows:

Haldimand County Tax Allocation by Service graph - 2024

More information on County budgets and budget processes is available at

Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre fund-raising campaign heads into homestretch

After more than two years of public engagement and design consultation, the Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre (HL+ALC) project is just months away from breaking ground, and the local Fund-Raising Committee supporting the construction of the new centre is launching the final push to meet its $2 million fund-raising goal.

“We are excited to be this close to making the new facility a reality for residents and visitors to our town,” says Committee Chair Tony Dalimonte, the former ward Councillor who initiated discussions with County staff in 2019 to realize the vision of multi-functional library, recreation and community facility in Grant Kett Park. “We know it will take about 18 months to complete the build, but putting a shovel in the ground gets us one step closer.”

“Hagersville is the second-fastest-growing community in Haldimand and needed an accessible, integrated building like this for library services, recreation and community socialization,” says Mike Evers, the General Manager of Community & Development Services. “From the beginning, this project has been an amazing collaboration with community members and groups working with Haldimand County staff—and now the design team at CGS Architects Inc.—to create a made-in-Hagersville and Haldimand facility.”

In June 2023, Council approved an additional $4.6 million in County funding towards the construction of the HL+ALC. This was in response to community feedback which included increasing the size and functionality of programming areas and the rapidly-rising construction costs since the original project budget was developed prior to the pandemic.

To date, the Fund-Raising Committee has raised more than $1.5 million dollars towards the construction of the facility, mostly through major community and corporate donations.

“The Committee has set an ambitious goal of raising another $500,000 through the community, which will be used specifically for technology and other design and program delivery enhancements that will elevate the uses and functionality of the facility,” explains Dalimonte. “This will be Hagersville’s community hub—for all ages and abilities—and we hope everyone will want to be part of making this facility a success and contribute any way they can, including using it for their recreation, leisure, wellness, educational, family and other activities and get-togethers.”

“We know how generous our community is,” adds Fund-Raising Committee member Rob Phillips, “and how it supports its local groups and services. We’ve seen that most recently with the Catch the Ace lottery and the many other important community initiatives that are supported by local residents and businesses. This is a facility designed for our community, and we hope residents from Hagersville and our surrounding towns will become part of building and supporting it for decades to come.”

For more information about contributing to the Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre, contact Fund-Raising Committee Chair Tony Dalimonte at 905-768-1260.

Details about the latest design are also available to view on the project web page at

February and March Programs at Haldimand County Public Library

The Haldimand County Public Library has some exciting programs coming up for the community. For further information on library programming, please contact Katrina Krupicz, Community Outreach/Inreach Coordinator, Haldimand County Public Library at 905-318-5932 ext. 6552,  or by email at

March Break Children’s Programs Registration

Registration for all library branches’ 2024 March Break programming begins on Monday, February 12th . Register your children for special crafts, parties, Storytimes and more. Registration is available in-person only and is required for all activities. Program itineraries can be found at the library branch or on the library’s website.

Paws to Read

In partnership with Therapeutic Paws of Canada, the Library is offering an exciting literacy program designed to help children who would benefit from extra practice with their reading. Registered children come to the library each week at a pre-scheduled time and read to a certified team of dog and handler.

Children are encouraged to pick a book or books they enjoy or think the dog will enjoy and spend their 15-minute session reading to the specially-trained dog. Paws to Read dogs provide undivided attention to the children increasing a child’s confidence and boosting self-esteem in those who struggle to read aloud.

The program will be available at the Caledonia, Cayuga and Jarvis branches. Sessions run over four weeks and must be at the same time each week. Registration is required and space is limited. Interested participants can call the branch they wish to participate at or register in person. For more information, visit the library’s website.

Crafternoons 2024

Registration is now open at the Jarvis, Cayuga, Hagersville, Dunnville and Caledonia branches for Crafternoons – an adult-only crafting program during which participants are shown how to make a pre-selected craft. The program runs from 1-2 p.m. and all materials are provided unless stated otherwise. The cost to participate is $2. Registration is required and can be done at the library branches.

The February Crafternoon sessions will be making cuddly Valentine’s Day creatures. For more information, visit the Crafternoons page on the Library website.

February session dates:

  • Jarvis branch – Tues., Feb. 15
  • Caledonia branch – Tues., Feb. 20
  • Hagersville branch – Wed., Feb. 21
  • Dunnville branch – Thurs., Feb. 22
  • Cayuga – Fri., Feb. 23

March’s craft will be “Easter Bunny Mason Jars”. View the Library’s website for specific dates and times!

Library Author Visit – Dunnville Branch

On Friday, February 23rd,  local children’s author Trisha Keesmatt will be paying a visit to the Dunnville children’s Storytime group. Trisha will read from her new book The Hat Monster, and will chat with the children about the importance of being creative. Storytime will then continue with fun songs, activities and crafts.

Registration for Storytime is required.   To attend this special Storytime in Dunnville, please register at the Dunnville Branch; the cost for a single Storytime registration is $1.00  Copies of The Hat Monster will also be available for purchase: $15 softcover or $24 hardcover.

 Friends of the Caledonia Library

Looking to support your Caledonia Branch within a larger volunteer group?  Friends of the Library organize fundraising activities, such as book sales, to generate monies to support library programs and enhance library collections and advocate for their local branch through various venues.  To learn about how you can help and join our fledgling Caledonia group, drop by the Caledonia branch on Wednesday, February 28th at 6:30 pm for an information session. No commitment to the group is necessary and light refreshments will be provided.

Fraud Prevention Presentations

Join a representative of the Haldimand OPP at the Dunnville and Jarvis library branches to learn about the latest frauds and scams that are taking place in and around our community.
Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones and what to do if you suspect you may have fallen victim to a scammer.
Dunnville Branch (317 Chestnut S) – Monday  March 4th at 1:00 pm
Jarvis Branch (2 Monson Street) – Thursday April 4th at 1:00 pm

Registration is not mandatory but is recommended and can be done in person at the Dunnville and Jarvis Branches or by phone, 289-674-0400. Light refreshments will be provided.

Drop-In Service Canada Clinics

Beginning March 6th, a Service Canada representative will be at the Hagersville Branch on the first Wednesday of the month, from 10am to 3pm, to assist residents with various federal services, including applications for new or replacement social insurance numbers (SIN), setting up a My Service Canada account, applying for CPP and OAS benefits, Child and Family Benefits, and more.

At the clinics in March, April and May there will also be Canadian Revenue Agency representative to answer and support your tax questions.

No appointments are necessary.

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

In partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency, the Library is offering free income tax filing services by trained volunteers as part of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This tax program will be offered by drop-off only, at the Caledonia, Jarvis, Cayuga, Hagersville, and Selkirk branches. The free tax clinics will run from March 1st to April 12th, 2024.

To be eligible for this free tax filing service, participants must be:

  • Single, with an annual income of $30,000 or less;
  • Married couple, with a combined annual income of $40,000 or less;
  • Single adult with dependents, with an annual income of $35,000 or less (plus an additional $2,500 per dependent);
  • Individual with less than $1,000 investment income.

Once participants drop off materials and complete the necessary forms, all materials will be delivered to a volunteer by library staff. Upon completion of the tax files, participants will be called back to the library to pick up their completed forms. If any questions should arise during the process, a volunteer will contact participants by phone.

Eclipse Information Sessions and Protective Eyewear Information Sessions

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth. Total eclipses are extremely rare and on April 8, 2024, Haldimand County will be one of the best spots on the continent to view the next solar eclipse. The Haldimand County Public Library will be hosting TWO information sessions regarding this natural phenomenon.

On Thursday March 14th at 6:30 pm, join a representative from McMaster University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Caledonia Branch to explore eclipses and learn more about how to safely enjoy this spectacular event. This session is open to all members of the public, regardless of age. No registration is required.
A second information session will be held on Tuesday March 19th at 6:00pm at the Hagersville This information session will be hosted by amateur astronomer Ryan Snyder, who will explain how eclipses occur, fill you in on how to best view the April 8 event, and provide tips and tricks to photographing the eclipse. Please contact the Hagersville Library to secure your spot as spaces are limited.

Solar Eclipse Protective Eyewear

Looking directly at a total solar eclipse is dangerous to your eyes.  Although painless and not immediately apparent, irreparable eye damage can occur when viewing an eclipse without protection.
To safely view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, the Haldimand County Public Library, in partnership with Haldimand County and McMaster University, will be handing out FREE protective eye gear to members of the pubic starting Thursday, February 22nd.
To get your free pair of viewing glasses, visit your local library branch and ask at the service counter. These glasses will only be available while supplies last.


One Book, One Haldimand 2024 Selection:

Flee, Fly, Flown by Janet Hepburn

Join fellow Haldimand County readers by participating in this year’s One Book One Haldimand!

One Book One Haldimand is an annual, community-wide reading program which encourages individuals across Haldimand County to read a selected Canadian title and join the author and other community members for an evening of exciting discussion.

This year’s selection is Flee, Fly, Flown, written by local author Janet Hepburn,

“When Lillian and Audrey hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home, “borrow” a car, and spend their hastily planned vacation time driving to destinations west, they aren’t fully aware of the challenges they will face. All they know is that the warm days of August call to them, and the need to escape the daily routines and humiliations of nursing home life has become overwhelming.  Flushed with the success of their escape plan, they set out on their journey having forgotten that their memory problems might make driving and following directions difficult. Their trip is almost over before it begins, until they meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young man also heading west in hope of reconciling with his family.  As Lillian and Audrey try to take back the control that time and dementia has taken from them, Rayne realizes the truth of their situation. But it’s too late – he has fallen under the spell of these two funny, brave women and is willing to be a part of their adventure, wherever it leads them.” – Book Cover

Copies of Flee, Fly, Flown are available at your local Haldimand County Library branch in print format, from the Library’s Libby digital service in e-book format, and from the Library’s CloudLibrary digital service in both e-book and digital audiobook format. Pop in or visit us online to borrow a copy or call 289-674-0400 to reserve one.


Service Disruption – New Elevator system to be installed at the Dunnville Library

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Replacement of the current elevator system, originally installed in 1983, will commence this March at Haldimand County Public Library Dunnville Branch (317 Chestnut St.).  Replacement work is scheduled to begin Thursday, March 7 and will  continue to approximately April 30th, 2024.

The branch will remain open to the public throughout this process. No elevator service will be available for the duration of the project and there will also be no access to the Alder Street entrance and its stairwell to the second floor. Visitors will be able to enter and exit the building through the Chestnut Street doors or parking lot (rear) doors and use an alternate staircase to the second floor children’s department.  Staff will readily retrieve materials from the second floor for individuals who experience mobility limitations.  Alternatively, patrons may request curbside pickup services and can always remotely browse the library’s collection, place holds, and renew items through the library’s online catalogue. Library programs, including March Break Children’s activities, Babysitting Courses, and Book Clubs will proceed as scheduled in the Garfield Disher Room (main floor). Some noise and dust is expected throughout the project and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  Project-related noises may also impact telephone calls.

To find construction updates, access the library catalogue, or learn about library programs and events, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Haldimand County Council approves 2024 Capital Budget

Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2024 Tax-Supported Capital Budget and 10-year forecast on February 1, 2024. The Capital Budget outlines $48.8 million of infrastructure investments in 2024, with a total investment of $344.7 million over the next 10 years.

View an at-a-glance breakdown of Capital Budget 2024 highlights

The 2024 Capital Budget is heavily focused on enhancing municipal infrastructure with notable expenditures on roadway improvements, technology enhancements, upgrades to existing public amenities as well as the construction of a new multi-purpose community recreation facility (Hagersville Library + Active Living Centre).

2024 Capital Budget Highlights:

  • $18 million towards roadway and active transportation improvements like road reconstruction & resurfacing, gravel road conversions, bridge/culvert rehabilitations and other structure-related projects;
  • $15 million total towards the Hagersville Library & Active Living Centre (HL + ALC) project, the scope of which now includes construction of a full pavilion, new concession stand and outdoor washroom facilities in Grant Kett Park, adjacent to the HL + ALC site;
  • $1.8 million towards the purchase of one new fire pumper and a new tanker, plus $560,000 for two new ambulances;
  • $704,000 towards enhancing municipal arenas, including upgrades to refrigeration & ice maintenance equipment and replacing key building elements;
  • $900K towards tree conservation and re-forestation initiatives, such as the Downtown Street Tree Revitalization Program and general maintenance, removal, planting and care of urban trees;
  • $1.3 million for park and trail-related enhancements, including upgrades to ball park amenities and the development of a new on-road cycling lane on River Rd.;
  • $380K towards key technology upgrades (148K for website and communications-related enhancements and $235,000 on the rollout of critically important software solutions);
  • $250K towards the development of a Traffic Management Plan
  • $50,000 towards accessibility upgrades to municipal facilities.

Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Case noted that while the focus of the county’s annual capital investment continues to be ‘hard infrastructure’ like bridges, roads and facilities, there is a critical need for the organization to prioritize investing in technology.

“Expenditures with a concerted focus on updating technologies and software have been introduced into the 2024 budget and flagged as a corporate priority. As important as our bricks and mortar infrastructure is, it is equally imperative that we invest in the tools necessary to be future-focused, work efficiently, be competitive as an employer and ultimately provide residents with better access to municipal services, staff and data,” stated Case.

“Today, Council approved a budget that ensures we are investing strategically in the infrastructure needed to not only keep our communities safe and vibrant, but continue to deliver county services efficiently, to the standard of excellence our residents deserve,” stated Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley.

Similar to past years, the total capital levy, funded by property taxes, will increase from $21.8 million to $22.6 million in 2024 – an increase of $800,000, or approximately 1% of the overall 2023 municipal levy.

The total municipal levy for 2024 will be determined once the 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget is approved by Council.

The 2024 Tax-Supported Operating Budget will be presented to Council on Thursday, February 29, 2024 – 9:30 a.m. at the Haldimand County Administration Building.

More information on Haldimand County budgets can be found at

Haldimand entrepreneurs awarded grants and mentorships to help spark new tourism ideas

Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism Division is pleased to announce that three Haldimand tourism businesses were awarded a seed grant and mentorship to help spark new tourism ideas in Haldimand County.

The county’s “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Haldimand County Tourism, Libro Credit Union, and the Grand Erie Business Centre. The program’s goal is to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits in the region.

Eleven Haldimand applications were received, with the top five selected to present their new tourism ideas at a virtual pitch session held on December 12th. A panel of partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants.

Each winner will be awarded a $3,000 seed grant and 3-month mentorship to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

The 2023 Haldimand County “Spark” Program 2.0 winners are:

  • Jessica Lymburner & Blain Albin, Caledonia Chamber of Commerce (Enhancing Waterfront Experiences in Caledonia)
  • Natalie Strouth & Jan Vilaca, Door 25 (Taste like a Local, Door 25 Road Trip Getaway)
  • Justin Awde, Awdshire Village Resort (Awdshire Village Resort)

Haldimand Economic Development & Tourism along with Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation will be actively reaching out to work with all eleven program applicants to assist each of them in developing their business concepts further and bringing their ideas to reality.


“The ‘Spark’ Program reflects our commitment to nurturing innovation and fostering growth within our tourism sector. These innovative ideas showcase the creativity and potential that exist within Haldimand County, enriching visitor experiences and supporting our local economy.” – Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism.

“We’re delighted to witness the innovative concepts brought forth by Haldimand’s entrepreneurs through the ‘Spark’ Program. These initiatives exemplify the spirit of creativity and collaboration, aligning with our mission to drive forward-thinking tourism experiences in the region.” – Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Tourism Innovation Lab.

“Supporting initiatives like those recognized by the ‘Spark’ Program is pivotal in showcasing the diverse and enticing offerings of Ontario’s Southwest. These projects underscore the region’s commitment to fostering unique, immersive visitor experiences that contribute to the vibrancy and allure of Haldimand County as a tourism destination.” – Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director for Ontario’s Southwest.