Digital kiosk brings free Wi-Fi to Orillia’s waterfront

Hidden beneath a billowing blue sheet tied with a celebratory ribbon stood the first visual indication of Orillia’s entry into the wireless age.  

“It’s a different society today,” Coun. Ralph Cipolla said moments after the unveiling of the digital kiosk that drew a crowd to the lakeside event.

Situated outside the Orillia Waterfront Centre, the touch-screen kiosk features twin 54-inch vertical LCD screens, one on either side of the unit.

One screen broadcasts events, community happenings and paid advertisements and the other provides a touch-screen that allows users to browse information about local events, activities and amenities such as hotels, restaurants and shopping, along with directions.

“It is basically a way for cities to connect with their citizens and for citizens to connect with the city,” Gary Semplonius, Bell senior vice-president, business, sales and marketing, told

The kiosk’s digital sign can also be employed to broadcast community messages and public safety alerts, he added.

“And because it’s interactive, it’s a great way to attract tourism as well,” Semplonius said.  

The kiosk also serves as an access point for free Wi-Fi in the area and includes a USB charger for phones and tablets.

“The Orillia SMART Kiosk is the first of its kind in Ontario and only the second in Canada, and showcases that Orillia is stepping things up when it comes to innovation and technology,” Mayor Steve Clarke added.

The initiative is one component of a research partnership between the municipality and Bell that leverage’s Bell’s Smart City platform to help the city make better-informed decisions on municipal operations and infrastructure through data collection.

Other phases are expected to take shape over the next month, including a second kiosk outside the Orillia Opera House.

The free Wi-Fi network will be expanded to cover the downtown area along with the waterfront, from the port to the Rotary Aqua Theatre.

The kiosks and Wi-Fi applications will provide the city with anonymous data related to where visitors originate from and what it is they value while in Orillia.

According to Semplonius, the launch of the first SMART kiosk in Ontario represents a “significant milestone on Orillia’s path to becoming one of Canada’s leading smart cities.”

Cipolla, a member of the Smart Cities Working Group, said the project would usher Orillia “into the 21st century.”

Two other applications unrelated to the kiosks are in development in partnership with Bell and will be introduced later this year.

One will allow residents to monitor snowplow progress and the other will detect ground water infiltration into the city’s sewer system.

The partnership with Bell is a one-year pilot, with any future commitments subject to future council approval.

Bell has also agreed to provide fibre optic connectivity to the city’s residences and businesses, placing Orillia at the forefront of Canadian communities in the area of smart-city initiatives, said Dan Landry, manager of business retention and expansion and industrial development.

“This will factor greatly into how we market investment and business opportunities in Orillia moving forward,” Landry added.

Robert North — SCDSB trustee Adjala-Tosorontio, Clearview, CFB Borden and Essa

Thanks for the opportunity to share information about my candidacy for English Language Public School Board trustee for the municipalities of Adjala-Tosorontio, CFB Borden, Clearview and Essa.

My educational background is in building operations and I work as a facility manager for a large charity  here in Simcoe County managing a modest budget of $1 million with 15 staff. I have been a resident of Simcoe County for the past 20 years and live in Essa Township with my wife Shelly. We have two daughters who graduated from the public school system and went on to post-secondary studies.

I have had the honour of being a trustee for 13 of the last 15 years, serving as vice-chair and chair of the board, as well as numerous committees. I have a track record of championing significant capital investments in schools including Nottawasaga Pines.

I have an excellent attendance record. I come to meetings prepared and my experience gives me an advantage in understanding how funding and policy flow from the ministry to boards, and how we operate within this framework to maximize services for students. With the recent provincial election now behind us, school boards are bracing for tighter budgets and swings in provincial policy. We need to work within these constraints and make the best long-term decisions for our students and communities as these changes occur.

I would be very grateful to continue to advocate for my local municipalities. I believe we must be fiscally prudent, but not at the expense of programming. I believe we must advocate not only for our existing students, but those who will follow. I believe that we must continue to press other levels of government to recognize that our facilities and programming serve not only students, but society in general.

I can be reached via mail at 121 Raglan St., Angus, Ont., L0M 1B0, through my website at , via email at or telephone at .


In the July 26 edition of the Herald, the story “Oddballs take centre stage at annual Georgian Bay Steam Show” contained an error. One of the featured tractors in this year’s event, happening Aug. 3 to 6 in Cookstown, is actually the Minneapolis Moline, along with other rare brands. The story misquoted 2018 feature chair Jeff Blaney. The Herald regrets the error.

Price-switching shoplifter chased through Cabela’s parking lot in Barrie

Barrie police are seeking the public’s help finding a price-switching shoplifter after recently receiving video surveillance from Cabela’s.

Police were called to Cabela’s at 50 Concert Way on June 29 for a theft and fraud after loss prevention staff chased a suspect through the parking lot because he was known to them.

The suspect attended the store twice on June 24. The first time he allegedly concealed two hunting knives and discarded the packaging on a nearby shelf. He was then seen switching several price tags on hammocks and later paying $29.99 for a hammock that had been priced at $99.99. Later that same day, he pulled the same fraud again, police say.

On June 26, the suspect returned to Cabela’s and once again stole several hunting knives and switched the price tag on hammocks. 

A loss-prevention officer recognized him when he attempted the same crimes again on June 29. He fled the Park Place shopping plaza in a black SUV. 

The investigation is ongoing.

The suspect is described as:

Male, white, 43 to 45 years old

Heavy build, six feet tall

• He was wearing a baseball hat, red, long-sleeved shirt, light-coloured shorts and sandals.

Anyone with information is asked to Const. Claus at 705-725-7025, ext. 2649, [email protected], or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Craigleith residents say highway plan could destroy character of village

A group of residents in the village of Craigleith are concerned that the widening of Highway 26 will have “serious repercussions,” on their community.

Elton and Rita Matthews, Lori King and Lucy Richmond are members of a group who are petitioning the province to lower the speed limit along a section of the highway. The group is also against the proposed widening.

“They are posting 80 (km/h), but they are doing 100, 120,” Rita said. “It needs to drop down to 60.”

Richmond said two accidents occurred along the stretch of highway in Craigleith last week, and she’s seen a number since she’s lived in the area.

“My concern is for safety of the community,” she said in an interview with

The province is proposing a four- or five-lane road from Collingwood to Thornbury along the shoreline.

Recently council did direct staff to work with the province and neighbouring municipalities to “investigate potential options and alternatives,” to the widening.

The group has delivered flyers to local residents, held a meeting and is getting signatures on a petition to send to the province.

Richmond said they are also calling on the province to look at alternatives, such as a bypass or a new highway, similar to what they did in Collingwood on the eastern portion of Highway 26.

“Give us an expressway,” Richmond said. “Does everybody from Tobermory to Toronto, Barrie to Owen Sound, need to come through Craigleith?”

Richmond would like to see the costs of widening the road in comparison to building a new highway.

A concern for residents is how a widened highway will affect the character of the village.

There are currently three major housing developments planned for the area that would bring hundreds of new homes.

The needs assessment provided included in a June 4 staff report to the Town of the Blue Mountains council, said about 73 per cent of the 406 properties along Highway 26 would be impacted if the widening were to occur.

The project could also leave 297 properties sterilized.

According to the report, the widening could also drop the assessed value from $225 million to $119 million.

Elton said that the widening of the Highway and the proposed development, could lead to the “erosion,” of the village atmosphere.

“Erosion of that will destroy it forever,” he said. “Our position has been since 2005, lower the speed limit, don’t widen the highway.”

King said when she moved into her home on Highway 26, she quickly realized there is a tight-knit community in Craigleith.

There are also concerns that the widening could have environmental impacts on the surrounding area.

The municipality has asked the province to undertake an Environmental Assessment process in 2019-2020.

Deputy Mayor Gail Ardiel met with the minister of transportation at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference in January.

Donald Westcott — Severn Ward 5

My name is Donald Westcott, and I have been a resident of the Township of Severn for 22 years. My wife Cathy and I have called Ward 5 home for the past 10 years. I am the father of three adult children and grandfather of two grandsons. I retired from my career as a police officer and worked for a local home contractor.

As incumbent Ward 5 councillor for the Township of Severn, I have gained significant knowledge of The Municipal Act as well as policy, procedure and protocol. As a strong communicator who is accessible to the residents, I am committed to being an active and effective member of council. If re-elected, I will uphold these qualities and continue my role of positive leadership on township council.

My first four years as councillor have seen a property tax increase in 2018 of 0.33%; 1.6 million dollars in road reconstruction for Ward 5; and access for Severn residents to Orillia Public Library services.

As an involved community member, I have been active, as on the Washago Canada Day, Santa Claus Parade and Canada 150 celebration committees; member and current president of the Washago Garden Club; fundraiser for the Washago Community Centre, Washago Garden Club and The Friends of the Washago Water Tower; and facilitator of the wooden paddle and Maple Leaf art projects in Washago.

If re-elected, my priorities would include maintaining a minimum property tax increase; continued support for road and bridge upgrades; improved internet and wireless service for rural areas in Ward, 5 and keeping a “watchful eye” on our rural environment. Washago priorities would include upgrades of the sewer system, advocating for a sidewalk on Quetton Street to the Washago Centennial Park, and additional parking in the Washago business sector.

The Township of Severn is a unique and picturesque place to live and work. If re-elected I would be proud to continue serving the residents of Ward 5.

Campaign office: 3113 Muskoka St., Washago; telephone number: ; website: ; email address:

Oro-Medonte holding forum on elementary school and community centre

Oro-Medonte residents and business owners are encouraged to attend a community forum later this month to learn about plans for a joint elementary school and community centre.

The township and the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) formally announced their plans for a mixed-use facility in the Horseshoe Valley area in June.

The township will be hosting a community forum on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Horseshoe Resort, in the Alpine room. The consulting firm assisting the township, The Rethink Group, will provide a presentation, followed by a facilitated discussion.

Attendees will have an opportunity to provide their input through an online survey, which will be available Aug. 15th on .

Pre-register at . Due to space limitations, community groups are asked to limit representatives to two individuals.

Bryan Harris — Barrie Ward 4

Raised in Barrie, my roots are firmly planted here in Ward 4, where my parents settled to raise our family, including my five siblings. My father, Arthur (“Art”) Harris of Harris Flowers and my mother, Blanche (Green — a farming family from Ivy Township), along with all of my grandparents, invested heavily in the City of Barrie, beginning in the 1800s. Their legacy of a focused, energetic, hardworking ‘roll up your sleeves’ attitude, integrity and accountability continues in me today.

I live in Barrie and worked at Honda for 17 years, after which I chose the path of local entrepreneurship, owning four businesses at the same time (where I employed 60 Barrie-area residents) for 10 years in the City of Barrie.

Raised with a hardworking mindset of listening and learning, I know that actively listening, continuously learning, and functionally communicating in person, with all stakeholders on behalf of the people I represent — you, the residents of Ward 4 — is the key for anyone to succeed in the role of councillor to effectively represent you.

To that end, I am the sole candidate for Ward 4 who will be treating this role as my full-time job.

I, Bryan Harris, submit my name ‘for the long haul’; if I am elected, and if you are happy with your vote for me, I intend to run for the following two elections after that.

I believe that it is my time to give back to the City of Barrie that has taken care of me, my family, and our future. That time is now because I want to be a part of the growth that is now happening in this city, and I want to work with the legacy of the incumbent, whom I respect for his past service.

My interests are: Community safety, controlling taxes, preservation of parklands and our heritage. Voice your interests. Visit my website. Support me with a lawn sign and your vote.






YouTube: Bryan Harris Ward 4


UPDATE: OPP identify Alliston girl, 6, who died in Highway 10 crash in Caledon

The OPP say six-year-old Valentina Palermo from Alliston is the young girl who died after a crash Monday involving a vehicle and a tractor-trailer in the northbound live lanes on Highway 10 in Caledon.

At about 10:15 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 6), emergency responders were called to the collision on Highway 10 between Charleston Sideroad and Olde Base Line Road.

Caledon OPP report a 36-year-old man in the vehicle was airlifted to a Toronto area trauma centre with serious injuries. About six hours following the crash, police confirmed a six-year-girl succumbed to her injuries and died.

While the cause of the accident is still under investigation, Const. Tamara Schubert confirmed the rear end collision happened in a live lane of traffic on Highway 10.

Caledon OPP’s investigation into the collision is ongoing.

The southbound lanes on Highway 10 reopened between Charleston Sideroad and Olde Base Line Road were closed for several hours Monday as police investigated.

Anyone with information regarding this collision is asked to contact Provincial Constable Eric Kerr of the Caledon OPP at (905) 584-2241 or 1-888-310-1122.

Collingwood’s Olde Red Hen ripped after Trump staffer booted from U.S. eatery

The distance between Collingwood and Lexington, Va., is about 1,000 kilometres.

But don’t try telling that to some south of the border.

The Olde Red Hen has been a fixture in the community since 1946, but this week the restaurant received some unwanted online backlash over an incident in the Virginia town.

Earlier this week, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the White House press secretary, was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant.

When the news broke online, angry Americans started to leave negative comments and reviews on the Facebook page of the Collingwood eatery.

“Glad to know which restaurant we will never eat at, we do not support low life Liberal scum run business,” was one of the comments.

Others said her restaurant wasn’t clean and hoped she goes out of business.

“I first got a couple Friday night and I responded, ‘You’ve got the wrong restaurant,’” she said. “It just kept coming and coming.”

However, the comments started to impact her restaurant’s rating on Facebook and Trip Advisor.

She said people have since been countering the negative comments with positive support and reviews.

Amanda Sexton wrote on the page, “This American is so sorry for what is happening to you. I am so embarrassed.”