The Midhurst Community Hall is the most important purely civic cultural asset in Midhurst. By far.

June 29, 2017

Former municipal seat of the townships of Vespra, Flos and Sunnidale.

Destroying it would go a long way to demolishing the community’s +200 year heritage. Destruction plan. Heritage justification: 1, 2

But it would make an internationally-financed mega-developer so HAPPY. And that is what minions do: they make their bosses happy.


(1) a follower or underling of a powerful person, especially a servile or unimportant one.
synonyms: underling, henchman, flunky, lackey, hanger-on, follower, servant, hireling, vassal, stooge, toady, sycophant

The proposed changes to the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association bylaws take my breath away.

April 27, 2017

I have never seen a not-for profit community group concentrate as much power in their executive.

Inconsistent with several democratic principles. Perfect to serve corporate or corporatist interests.






Changes in red.

Board members: Sandy Buxton, David Strachan, Margaret Prophet, Connie Spek, Barb Kutcher, Kevin Newman

Who are the individuals within the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association?

April 27, 2017

According to an email I received today, these are the individuals.


President: Sandy Buxton

Treasurer: David Strachan

Secretary: Margaret Prophet (Simcoe County Greenbelt Coaltion co-chair)

Directors at large:

Connie Spek

Barb Kutcher (Midhurst Community Hall president)

Kevin Newman

Geranium Homes/Midhurst Secondary Plan cuts a big cheque for Elmvale minor hockey: Anonymous association executive calls it a “charitable donation”.

April 9, 2017

It is hard to imagine that the Elmvale Minor Hockey Association, EMHA has EVER received any bigger, single cheque than $10,000 from a sponsor in their history.

Curiously, the news lies buried on page 23 of the Springwater News: no photograph with donater/donatee, no photograph with local politicians, and no attribution for who wrote the article on behalf of the EMHA.

I’ve added an image from a 2008 Barrie Advance article.

Donation to TIFT honours Browns Geranium Corporation President Earl Rumm, right, holds at $20,000 donation from Talk is Free Theatre sponsors. Rumm also presented TiFT’s Arkady Spivak with a $10,000 cheque from Geranium. The company then gave an additional contribution to the sustaining fund, made in support of Barrie philanthropists Arch and Helen Brown. Sharon Bamford photo


Springwater News article:

Springwater News
April 6, 2017

Geranium Homes generously donates $10,000

This past month, Elmvale Minor Hockey Association received a very generous donation from Geranium Homes of $10,000 Geranium Homes is a developer who has projects coming up in Springwater Township. They have presented us these funds to help assist with local player development and are committed to helping grow an active community.

This charitable donation will be put to good use by helping with the ongoing financial constraints the organization has. The majority of the money will be put towards updating and purchasing new equipment as well as help finance some of the various skill development clinics that are offered to the members of EMHA. Both of these initiatives are very valuable to the organization and will help assist in the progress of the organization and more importantly the players of the Elmvale Minor Hockey.

Organizations like the EMHA rely heavily on the generosity of the businesses that operate in the surrounding community. Without these contributions we would not be able to provide the opportunity we do for the close to 300 young players that are currently enrolled here. EMHA would like to thank all team sponsors on top of Geranium Homes for their support as they are helping keep kids active and enjoy the sport they love to play.

I can hardly wait to find out how much the next donation will influence the demolition of the Midhurst Community Hall.


If there aren’t any “strings attached” why aren’t Springwater Township Mayor Bill French, Deputy Mayor Don Allen, and Councillors Katy Austin and Perry Ritchie, MP Alex Nuttall and MPP Jim Wilson in this picture, taking credit for a “job well done”?

With a municipal election coming up soon and Elmvale being a crucial vote-heavy area, you’d think this annoucement would be crawling with serving politicians. Assuming everything’s on the “up-and- up”, of course.


When is Springwater Township planning to demolish or “decommission” the Midhurst Community Centre?

April 8, 2016

Sometimes it helps to ask politicians, in writing, important questions.

Springwater Council Web

(l) Don Allen, Perry Ritchie, Katy Austin, Bill French, Sandy McConkey, Jennifer Coughlin, Jack Hanna

1. Email from author to Midhurst ward councillor (Mr. Jack Hanna), Township of Springwater

FROM: Les Stewart
TO: Jack Hanna <>
CC: Bill French <>
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 11:31
SUBJECT: Midhurst Sports and Wellness Centre proposal

Mr. Jack Hanna
Councillor Ward 5
Township of Springwater

Mr. Hanna,

I would appreciate an update on the Township’s evaluation of this proposal.

I would also like to have an opportunity for a meeting so that I can make sure my facts are correct about how this proposal will affect the Midhurst Community Centre at 74 Doran Road, Midhurst.


Les Stewart

2. Response from Mayor French

FROM: Bill French

TO: Les Stewart, Jack Hanna

CC: Ron Belcourt <>, (Director of Recreation, Parks & Properties)

Robert Brindley <> (Chief Administrative Officer)

DATE: 24 March 2016 at 11:51

It was referred to staff for feedback. It will not be reviewed until we finalize our Master Recreation Plan which will not be complete until later this year.
Before the advancement of any idea or concept, it would be subject to rigorous review and public input. But at the same time we commend people that have ideas that try to enhance our various communities.
Appreciate your interest.

Best Regards


Bill French
Township of Springwater
2231 Nursery Road
Minesing, ON L0L 1Y2
P 705-728-4784 ext. 2040
F 705-728-6957
C 705-718-7031 or


3. Reply by author

FROM:: Les Stewart
TO: Bill French
CC: Jack Hanna, Ron Belcourt, Robert Brindley
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 12:05

Mayor French,

Thank you for the update.

I take from this that the proposal, which called for demolishing the Midhurst Community Hall by fall 2016, will not be happening.

I have attached a current Springwater News article by Ruth Byers.  She notes Midhurst and many township residents had worked very hard to preserve 164 years of continuous civic building presence. It may be of interest to the Corporation that the Midhurst United, St. Paul’s Anglican and Midhurst Baptist churchs rented the Doran Road facilities while their congregations struggled, successfully, to construct their own buildings in our community.

Considering the season, it’s nice that the current church congregation renting (Old Apostolic Lutheran Church) won’t become homeless by this administration.

At least for now, eh?

Regards, Les

4. Mr. Jack Hanna comments.

FROM: Jack Hanna
TO: Bill French, Les Stewart
CC: Ron Belcourt, Robert Brindley
DATE: 24 March 2016 at 16:39

Mr Les Stewart
Further to the response from Mayor French you will note in the Draft Recreation Master Plan a recommendation to “decommission the Midhurst Community Centre” my objection to this is part of the public record.

Jack Hanna
Councillor Ward 5

Meeting asked for….meeting…

Therefore, the French administration, staff & councillors seems to be pleased with the accuracy of the traditional and social media coverage.

Posted also on

Who should be taking credit for the plan to establish a Midhurst Sports & Wellness Centre by demolishing the Midhurst Community Centre by September 2016?

February 16, 2016

As defined by their  December 14, 2015 proposal which is front of Springwater Township staff: Township Deputation Request FormProposal, and Fundraising document.

20160216 p1 Proposal

Based on a Springwater News letter to the editor (Feb 11, 2016) by Ann Spence:

  • Executive: Barb Kutcher, Chair, Roy Monk, Vice-Chair, Doreen Britt, Secretary, Carol Fleming, Booking Agent
  • Members at Large: Lori Hanna, Ann Spence, Matt Kelman, Nadia DeAmicis, Jack Hanna
  • Supporters (individuals): Connie Spek, Nancy Spence, Margaret Prophet
  • Supporters (groups): Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, AWARE Simcoe (support of plan pending)


Springwater News
Letter to the Editor
February 11, 2016

Midhurst Community Hall Communications Report
January 2016
By: Ann Spence

Barb Kutcher was elected Chair, Doreen Britt continued as Secretary, Roy Monk was elected Vice Chair and Carol Fleming (705-722-8714) will remain Booking Agent. Members at large are Lori Hanna, Ann Spence, Matt Kelman, Nadia DeAmicis, and Jack Hanna.

The 2015 Autumnfest, under the guidance of Lori, Nadia and Barb was successful and raised approximately $5,000.000 which has been ear marked for our future pavilion.

The interior of the Midhurst Community Hall looks great with its new coat of paint on the front foyer, hallways, bathrooms and upstairs main room. Special thanks to the following volunteers who donated their time to give the hall a fresh look: Barb, Lori, Connie, Nancy and Margaret.

Events for 2016 will start off at the Midhurst Community Hall with a Pancake breakfast on Family Day Monday February 15th at 9 am until 11:30 am. The Midhurst Snowman Building Contest, winners to be announced at the Pancake Breakfast with prizes handed out by the MRA (Midhurst Rate Payers Association). Let’s hope the weather co-operates for the Snowmen Building Contest.

A new portable sign to advertise community events has been purchased and is available for rent $20.00/week for Families of Charities and $40.00/week for businesses. Wish your family and friends a happy birthday or anniversary, etc. To post your message, call or text Lori Hanna 705-795-5042.

Midhurst is off to a good start for 2016!

Posted on

cui bono: Latin for “who benefits?”.



The Midhurst Community Centre accurately embodies the civic, social, and religious values of Midhurst pioneers.

February 15, 2016

The structure was paid for mostly by loans and donations from pioneer families. Their pride was reflected in the extraordinary extravagance of a professionally-made hand-lettered interior sign.

Front cover


The first hall was built in 1854 on a site east of the Anglican Church quite close to Mr. Sneath’s house, store, and post office. This land was donated by Mr. George Sneath. The land around the hall was turned into a park. More recently this land belonged to Jim Pierce. The Townships of Vespra, Flos, and Sunnidale met here at first. In 1855 they split and Vespra alone had this hall was the only one for a large area and naturally was in use for many purposes. All the religious organizations met her until the churches were built. Concerts, dances and parties used this hall. Once a year a grand ball for the whole area, including Barrie was put on. it was a great success. They sang, they ate, they drank until the wee hours. Wisky bottles were gathered up in Piles the next day. A temperance society “Canadian Templars” met here from about 1869-1870. This hall was used for 81 years and was torn down. Some of the timbers were used in the new hall built in 1927 at it’s present site which was purchased from Mr. Thos. Spence. Two groups had a see-saw battle as the most suitable site for this hall. One favoured The Reforestation Station as the ideal site, and another wanted it in the village where it stands. Of course the villagers won the battle. A poem written in the first edition by Arthur Garvin gives a humourous account of the meeting to decide the site. In the seventies and early eighties the Independent Order of Good Templars had a strong lodge here and quite a clever dramatic club was connected with it.

p36 Town hall

p37 Sign

[A large, hand-lettered sign which was hung on the inside of the 2nd structure for several decades.]


Vespra Township Hall, Midhurst
Erected 1927
Raised Through Donations and Committee

Working Committee: William Russell, Chairman, Morgan Orrock, Secretary, Arthur A. Garvin, Treasurer
Vespra Township: W. A. Boys, K.C., M.P., Donald Bonney, Robert D. Coutts, James Coutts, James Craig, Everett C. Coutts, Walter Downey, Stanley Dunn, William A. Dunn, James Doran, Albert Dwyer, F. J. Frankcom, Francis Frankcom, George Finlay, John W. Garvin B.A., Joseph L. Garvin R.S.I., George E. Garvin, Arthur A. Garvin, Whitford P. Gill, Charles Hickling, Roy Hickling, James Keenan, Reg. Lytton, Henry McGowan, Daniel McLean, Dr. R. D. Orok, M.P. Man., James J. Orok, Morgan T. Orrock, Frank Orser Sr., Lorne Poole, William L Russell, Hunter D. Russell, Miss Birdie Russell, Frank Rice, Hon. Charles Stewart M.L.A., Dr. T. H. Sneath, Miss Isabel A. Sneath, Mrs. E. Spence, Earnie Spence, Thomas Sutton, A. A. Smith, Henry Tracey, Wesley Tracey, Charles Wright M.R., Mrs. E. Weeks, Alex Wilson, Arthur Walt, William Walt, Charles Wattie, John Wattie, Robert Wattie, Clarence W. Ward

p37 Hall

Pioneer History of Midhurst, 1976, p. 36-7

Administrative Structures Matter: The first Township Hall (circa 1854) was at the 2016 address of 48 Doran Road. The second Township Hall (circa 1927) was/is at 2016 address of 74 Doran Road. This structure ONLY became the “Midhurst Community Centre” in 1968. Administrative functions were carried out for a time at 17 Owen Street in Barrie. On Nov 1978, the 4th administrative centre was opened, at the now 30 Spence Road. The 5th and current one is at 2231 Nursery Road.

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