‘We are so lucky’: Business is good says Orillia cheese shop owner

Artisanal cheese is the focus at The Rind and Truckle, a recent addition to downtown Orillia’s culinary scene. Cheeses sold here hail “mostly from Ontario and Quebec — about 80 per cent,” said Amy Robert, who co-owns the business with her husband, Dan Boucher. “And then we offer everything that goes with that — jams, chutneys, (charcuterie) boards, crackers, nuts.” The response to date has been “fantastic,” Robert said. “We are so lucky.” For customers seeking a convenient take-away snack, the shop also offers charcuterie — a selection of meats — packed in a pizza box, “so you can pick it up, you can go home, you can go to the beach, you can go wherever,” she added. A lifelong love of cheese inspired the decision to open the local business, said Robert, who in her previous career produced internal shows for corporations while living in the Toronto area. “We have a cottage up here and have been coming up for years, and any time we would come up I would bring cheese from the city,” she said, adding the couple has since moved here. “It just sort of all fell into place.”

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Loaded handgun seized after report of Midland home invasion: OPP

UPDATE: Southern Georgian Bay OPP released a photo of a 9mm handgun allegedly seized from the suspects of this robbery. Police are asking anyone with information about illegal guns to contact: OPP at , or Crimestoppers at .   Two men from Tiny Township and Orillia are facing charges in connection to a police investigation in Midland, OPP said. A Manly Street resident in Midland called OPP March 9 at 12:38 a.m. saying he could hear someone breaking into his home. The caller gave police a description of the suspects — who had their faces obscured — and said one had a handgun. Southern Georgian Bay OPP went to the home immediately and found two men matching the description walking southbound on Manly Street.   Both men were arrested and searched. Police allegedly seized a loaded handgun, a can of noxious spray and a baton. During the search, police said they also found items stolen from the home, and a quantity of cocaine.   A 20-year-old Tiny Township man and 20-year-old Orillia man are charged with: • Possession of a Firearm, Prohibited or Restricted Weapon Obtained by Crime • Possession of a Prohibited Device or Ammunition Obtained by Crime • Disguise with Intent • Break and Enter a Dwelling House with Intent to Commit Indictable Offence • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose • Robbery Using a Firearm • Unauthorized Possession of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm • Possession of […]

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Simcoe Muskoka health unit records one new COVID-19 death, third-straight day of 20-plus cases

It’s another day with a double-digit increase in the local COVID-19 case tally. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported on its website Aug. 20 an additional 21 cases of the virus in the Simcoe-Muskoka region. This is the third consecutive day in which the number of new cases has exceeded 20. Also of note Friday, one more person, a 45- to 64-year-old Simcoe County man, succumbed to the virus Aug. 17. His case wasn’t connected to an outbreak and he becomes the first confirmed Simcoe-Muskoka resident to die of the illness since July. In total, 256 locals have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Innisfil had six new incidents today. Orillia (five), Barrie (four), Bradford (two) and Adjala-Tosorontio, New Tecumseth, Ramara and Wasaga Beach (one each) were also listed. Four residents 17 years of age or under fell ill. Everyone else was between 18 and 64. Sources of infection range from “close contact” to “community-acquired” and “under investigation.” There are 139 known active cases, including two hospitalizations. Overall, 818,170 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the region, with 427,348 people — or 70.7 per cent of the population — receiving at least one shot. About 63.1 per cent of residents are fully inoculated now. There have been 85 new cases reported to the health unit so far this week; 99 and 37 were reported in each of the previous two weeks. To date, 4,004 Alpha (first d […]

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William’s offers Alliston a casual fine dining experience

As the province began lifting some of its COVID-19 restrictions this summer, Sandra Lambie reopened her restaurant to a show of community support. Lambie is the owner of William’s, a restaurant in Alliston that was forced to close in Dec. 2020, due to slow business and increased pressure resulting from COVID-19 restrictions. The restaurant reopened April 19. When it first opened to the public in 2019, William’s operated as the sister location to the former Coops restaurant. But as lockdowns and restrictions continued, Lambie was forced to shut Coops down permanently. “We used William’s to feed Coops with baked products … but it was just too stressful to operate two businesses during this time,” said Lambie. “I sold (Coops) in June, and reopened William’s in April.” Lambie now focuses much of her time building William’s into an experience that customers can enjoy. With a 10-hour workday almost every day of the week, Lambie said she’s always been a hands-on owner. “I work now more than I would like. But I’ve always worked a lot,” said Lambie. “I’ve always been hands-on, and I think that might be one of the reasons why we are successful. I believe having an owner on the premises changes the way your staff are, and I also get to connect with our customers.” William’s began as a place to experience fine dining, but with the closure of Coops, the restaurant has introduced me […]

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Meet the athletes: Canada’s Paralympic team, by the numbers

With the 2020 Summer Games in the rear view, Canada is sending another delegation of 128 athletes to Tokyo, this time to compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games.  From Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, Team Canada’s athletes will compete in 18 events, including wheelchair basketball, Para swimming, Para athletics and wheelchair rugby. The team is made of a mix of rookies and Olympic veterans, including 26 previous medallists. Like the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games team, it’s comprised mostly of women, with 71 female and female-identifying athletes and 57 male and male-identifying athletes. “Canada’s Paralympians are absolute stars,” said Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission for the Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team. “They are among the best athletes in the world, and I can’t wait for their incredible hard work, talent, dedication, and perseverance to be celebrated across Canada.” Here’s a breakdown of the team representing Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games:  • Of the 128 athletes and guides, 42 come from Ontario, 28 from Quebec, 21 from British Columbia, 20 from Alberta, seven from Saskatchewan, four from New Brunswick and one each from Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador and Manitoba, plus one overseas athlete.  • Canada’s youngest athlete, Para swimmer Nicholas Bennett, is 17. Its most senior, competing in wheelchair fencing, is Ruth Sylvie Morel, 64. • Three Para […]

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Town of Innisfil still waiting for decision on minister’s zoning order request

On March 8, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark issued six minister’s zoning orders, but Innisfil’s request for one wasn’t among them.  In Nov. 2020, Innisfil council voted to request a minister’s zoning order (MZO) in order to expedite the construction of a GO Station on the 6th Line and the surrounding development, which has been dubbed the Mobility Orbit. At the time, Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin told Simcoe.com that getting the Go Station built quickly, and the desire to control future growth in a sustainable way, were drivers behind the town’s request for an MZO. According to the  Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the tool lets the minister make zoning orders for regulating the use of land and the location, use, height, size and spacing of buildings and structures. Critics have decried the use of MZOs because they can’t be appealed.  Of the MZOs recently approved, one was for a massive residential development in Beeton in the Town of New Tecumseth.  Although that MZO was requested around the same time as Innisfil requested one for the Mobility Orbit and Go Station, Innisfil is still waiting.  “While submitted to the minister at about the same time, the Orbit MZO is complex as a result of being drafted to support the concept of Transit-Oriented Communities and truly integrate transit infrastructure into the design,” said Tim Cane, Orbit director at the town of Innisfi […]

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They were hardest hit by COVID-19. Advocates now fear ‘post-pandemic recovery’ plans will leave these same communities behind

When mapping in Toronto, the highest infection rates can be seen in the city’s , where residents are more likely to be newcomers, low income and living in cramped housing — all factors that heightened their risk of death and disease long before the pandemic. In this corner of Toronto, organizations like Rexdale Community Health Centre have found creative ways to reach their neediest patients but COVID has halted much of this critical work. A weekly mobile clinic for uninsured workers was paused. Community events for diabetes interventions and education were cancelled. And at the clinic, where doctors continued treating people in person and online, certain patients stopped showing up. “Thirty-five per cent of our patients are uninsured … people who literally have no resources,” said Peter Khela, director of primary health-care services at Rexdale CHC. “We prioritize them. But during COVID, we’ve seen less of them come to us. I don’t know why.” The pandemic is often described as a spotlight on disparities that have long existed, but were made glaringly visible by COVID-19’s trail of destruction. The city’s northwest and parts of Scarborough — where case counts have been highest — are sometimes referred to as “primary care deserts,” where access to family doctors and general practitioners is lowest despite having some of the highest needs. Advocates now worry health disparities have worsene […]

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OPP searching for missing teen who was last seen in Orillia

OPP are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing teen who was last seen in Orillia. Terrence Welcome, 15, was last seen near University Street Aug. 18. He is described as being 5-foot-11 with a thin build. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a red Washington Nationals ball cap, a red Nike zip-up sweater, dark pants and white and blue Air Jordan shoes, OPP said in a press release. He could be in the Mississauga or Scarborough area.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of this teen should call OPP at .

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Simcoe County gets $3.8 million boost to protect homeless amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Ontario government announced today (March 11) it’s responding to an increase of COVID-19 cases at some emergency shelters in Simcoe County with an investment of over $3.8 million. The funding will be used to purchase motel and hotel spaces for homeless individuals to support physical distancing of shelter residents, to hire more shelter staff and purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. A portion will be reserved to help people pay their rent and utilities. This will prevent more people from becoming homeless, the government said.  “We are responding to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and applying funding where it is needed across Simcoe County and within our communities in Simcoe North,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP Simcoe North. “This additional funding will help to improve the safe delivery of critical services, and further ensure to protect homeless shelter staff and residents.” Under the Social Services Relief Fund, Ontario has provided $765 million to support shelters, create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable Ontarians affected by COVID-19, states an Ontario media release.

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Collingwood parents, children nervous about return to school

As the mother of two school-aged children, Jamie Draganac’s biggest concern about the return to school is another shutdown. While the province’s medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-August, there’s no talk of a school shutdown at this stage. However, addressing the Collingwood mom’s second concern will take a concerted effort from friends, family, teachers and staff. “They pretty much lost a year,” she said. “When they did go back, there was a lot of anxiety because they had no socialization for a year. “They miss friends, they miss the consistency, the teachers, the help that they get being at school that they don’t necessarily get being at home.” Thirteen-year-old Parker Draganac said he found working online less stressful. “So, I didn’t lose a year (of school); I simply lost a year of social interaction like everybody else,” he said. Parker’s younger sister Claire, 10, is nervous about heading into Grade 4. “Working online was a little bit stressful. I’m looking forward to socializing,” she said. Health guidelines for school under the province’s Roadmap to Reopen recognized the pandemic’s impact on students, so a key theme the Ministry of Education will focus on during the 2021-22 school year includes mental health. Dawn Franks, mental-health lead at the Simcoe County District School Board, s […]

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