Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Plan a March Break Staycation in Elgin County!

Staying close to home this March Break? If so check out these ideas for an entertaining and educational staycation in Elgin County!  

Palmer's Maple Syrup Festival
Weekends in March
9 am - 3 pm
Palmer's Maple Syrup
34308 Lake Line, RR # 1, Port Stanley

Enjoy a shanty tour, self-guided woods excursion, pioneer storyteller, log-sawing, and maple leaf branding! Taste some maple syrup and take a jog home to eat with pancakes!

Springwater Maple Syrup Festival
Weekends in March and everyday during March Break
Springwater Conservation Area
8079 Springwater Rd., Aylmer

Enjoy wagon rides through the Springwater Forest. Tour the old-fashioned sugar shanty for demonstrations on maple syrup production. Maple products are available for sale. Dine at the pancake house which is operated by local community organizations. 

Tundra Swan Line Open
 March 12th -  April 6th
Aylmer Wildlife Management Area
10594 Hacienda Road, Aylmer (beside Ontario Police College)
519-773-SWAN (7926) 

Between 10-16 thousand swans use the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area to refuel on their migration to the high Arctic Region between Alaska and Baffin Island. Birdwatchers from all over the province come to Aylmer to see this beautiful bird and wonder of nature that is right here in our backyard! The Aylmer Wildlife Management Area features trails, wildlife viewing stands, interpretative signs, brochures, and plenty of parking. Call the hotline for daily updates on the migration.

The Great Winter Thaw Adventure Passport

March 7 - April 15
Springwater Maple Syrup Festival, Tundra Swan Migration

Say goodbye to winter in true Canadian style as Springwater Conservation Area hosts it’s Annual Maple Syrup Festival and the Tundra Swans stop over at the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area! To win one of our Great Winter Thaw Adventure Prize Packs you must visit the Maple Syrup Festival and the Tundra Swans, punch your passport at each location, fill out the form fully (to qualify), and drop it off at either location! It’s that simple! So bring your friends, family, your appetite and your binoculars! This is the perfect way to celebrate a big part of Canadian history and view one of nature’s wonders!

Click here to download a copy of the passport. You can also pick up your copy at the Maple Syrup Festival, the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area, Mainstreet Aylmer Businesses, Aylmer Town Hall, or the Township of Malahide office.

Winter Tours of the HMCS Ojibwa in Port Burwell
March Break, Sat March 29 & Sun March 30
$18.50 - ages 13+, $11 - children 6-12

Savour the Flavour Culinary Boot Camp

March 10th - March 14th

The Arts & Cookery Bank

 242 Graham Road, West Lorne

$100 (limited to 12 students)

A great experience for kids in grades 9 and up. This five-day boot camp uses a fresh approach to help young adults understand the food they eat, the landscape and the hands that grow the food. The boot camp creates a stronger awareness within the local community of the value and importance of Ontario’s local food economy. Campers will connect with local farmers, working with professional chefs and learn and practice culinary techniques that can be transferred to everyday use.

WEDS March Break Kids Camp
March 10th - March 14th

9am-4pm (before and after care available
 $200 per child (ages 7-12) includes week session and souvenir t-shirt
WEDS Theatre
199 Main Street, Dutton

At the West Elgin Dramatics Society’s March Break Kids Camp, participants will create a production from page to stage. Students will learn about all aspects of theatre including technical theatre, set design and construction, costume design, make-up technique, and acting. Week concludes with a performance on the WEDS stage. Registration closes Mar 1st; register by Feb 14th and receive a $50 discount. 

March Break Public Skating Sponsored by Eastlink
March 10, 12 & 14—9:00am to 11:00am 

March 11 & 13—11:30am to 1:30pm 
East Elgin Community Complex 
531 Talbot St. W, Aylmer 
(519) 773-5631

Meet the Art Emporium's Featured Artists
2nd Sunday of every month 
The Art Emporium

177 Main Street, Port Stanley

Each month a few members of the Art Emporium Boathouse Gallery are selected as "Featured Artists". Each month, you can have the opportunity to meet them and view their work.

STEPAC Exhibition: Great Beginnings
February 22nd -  April 26th

Great Beginnings Elementary - Sat Feb 22nd to Sat Mar 22nd - Reception Feb 22nd, 1-3pm
Great Beginnings Secondary - Sat Mar 29th to Sat Apr 26th - Reception Mar 29th, 1-3pm

St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre
301 Talbot Street, St. Thomas

Every other year the Art Centre hosts Great Beginnings, an exhibition comprised of work created by students in St. Thomas and Elgin County. This exhibition allows hundreds of students the opportunity to share their talent  and accomplishments with family, friends, teachers and the entire community. 

Elgin County Museum Exhibition: Treasures from the Vault
Jan 6th - Aug 30th

 Elgin County Museum
 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas
 519-631-1460 x159

The Elgin County Museum highlights some of its best-known artifacts with a new show entitled Treasures from the Vault. The exhibit has something for everyone from kitchen gadgets to sports memorabilia. Among the “Treasures” is an 1898 Port Stanley life saving metal, the blue dress worn by Susan Paul to the Prince of Wales ball in 1860, an 1885 high wheel bicycle, trophies and ribbons from sportsmen Robert Emslie and Billy Devine and Col. Talbot’s chair. 

STEPAC Winter Art Classes & Workshops

March 10 - March 14

St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre
301 Talbot St, St. Thomas
$35/day or $160/week

Ray's Reptiles for March Break
March 11
10 a.m. Belmont Library
11:30 a.m. Aylmer Old Town Hall Library
1:30 p.m. Port Stanley Library
3:30 p.m. John Kenneth Galbraith Reference Library, Dutton

Ray's Reptiles will be bringing an assortment of arachnids, amphibians, turtles, tortoises, lizards and snakes for a close encounter over March Break.

March Break Fashion Week
March 10, 11, 13 & 14
2:00 p.m.
Aylmer Library 
48 John St. S., Aylmer

Monday -  Hair (Curls & Braids) 10+
Tuesday - Fashion (Catwalk) 7+
Thursday - Jewellery/Makeup 7+
Friday - Nails 10+

All Day Lego
Aylmer Library
38 John St. S., Aylmer

We supply the Lego! 

Circuits, Electronics & Robotics
March 13
4:00 p.m.
Aylmer Library
38 John St. S., Aylmer

Ages 12 - 14. 

Elgin County Trails
County- Wide
(519) 631-1460 ext. 168

Elgin County boasts over 100 km of trails winding through conservation areas and the countryside, and is well connected to the Trans Canada Trail. Welcome spring with a high through the County and take in the scenic beauty of "Carolinian Canada". Visit to download a variety of hiking maps. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Elgin Promotes Ports at London Boat, Fishing and Leisure Show

From February 21 – 23, 2014 thousands of visitors will attend southwestern Ontario’s largest, most comprehensive boat, fishing and leisure show at London’s Western Fair District. Elgin County Economic Development and Tourism will be exhibiting at the show to promote the Ports of Elgin campaign.

With a target audience of 20,000 consumers the show is a perfect opportunity to promote Elgin’s four portside villages to the London market. Each of these villages offers visitors a unique and rewarding experience. Port Glasgow in the western portion of the County is home to the Port Glasgow Yacht Club and Marina, the perfect spot to launch or charter a boat or relax on the beach. Port Stanley offers some of the finest beaches on the north shore of Lake Erie and visitors are delighted by the quaint boutiques and fine dining establishments that dot the downtown core. Port Bruce boasts some of the best Lake Erie Yellow Perch and Walleye fishing along Ontario’s southern coastline and Port Burwell is home to a provincial park, a historic lighthouse, a wind interpretive centre and the HMCS Ojibwa Submarine.

For more information on the Ports of Elgin or the Elgin County booth at the London Boat, Fishing and Leisure Show visit

Show Hours:

February 21 noon – 9pm
February 22 10am – 7pm
February 23 10am – 5pm

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Efficiencies Enable County to Hold the Line on 2014 Budget

February 11, 2014

For immediate release

Efficiencies Enable County to Hold the Line on 2014 Budget 

CENTRAL ELGIN – Elgin County Council today approved a $62,000,000 million operating budget, representing a four per cent levy increase in County taxes on the average home or approximately $32 more for the year. An average cost home with no increase in assessment will actually see a $7 or 0.5% decrease in County taxes due to the positive impact of economic growth.
The budget is in-line with Council’s strategic vision to maintain service levels and an affordable tax increase in the face of significant losses of revenue from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, the St. Thomas Ford Assembly Plant property tax and, in 2014, a decline in the Federal Gas Tax funding.

“Council has led staff in the delivery of $3 million in efficiencies over the last five years,” said Elgin County Warden David Marr. “These efficiencies will enable the County to absorb the impact of increased cost pressures and declining revenues, while maintaining the vision of an affordable tax increase. In addition, reserves are being drawn down to lessen the impact”.  

Highlights include:  

•$1.7 million in budget surplus from 2013, that will be applied to the 2014 budget to reduce the impact on ratepayers;

•A $250,000 contribution to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital project, bringing the County’s contribution amount to a total of $1.5 million;

•$11 million in 2014 capital infrastructure improvements, such as renovations to Terrace Lodge, POA Courts and the Administration Building;

•Continued investment in satellite business centres in eastern and western Elgin.


For additional information, please contact:

Jim Bundschuh, Director of Financial Services 
631-1460 x 141 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Elgin County recognized as innovator in economic development

Elgin County Economic Development is pleased to be the recipient of two Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) Marketing Awards of Excellence. Awards for the Elgin County 2012 Year in Review Report and the Artastic Elgin Event were presented at the EDCO annual conference in Toronto on February 6, 2014. 

"These awards allow Elgin to measure its economic development efforts against those of its peers,” said Elgin County Warden David Marr. "Winning positions Elgin as a leader in innovative and creative economic development practices, raising our profile across the province and internationally." 

Each year Elgin County Economic Development produces a Year in Review report outlining the department’s activities, initiatives and programs and highlighting business success stories in the County. In 2012 the publication was electronically sent to over 5,000 recipients. Elgin County worked with marketing firm Yfactor Inc. to create the design and layout of the 2012 Year in Review. Content was developed in house by County staff and photos were sourced locally, primarily from talented photographer Phillip Bell of Shutter Studios. 

The Artastic Elgin event was held in conjunction with Culture Days in September 2013. It consisted of interactive events, speakers, workshops and studio tours at participating Elgin Arts Trail member locations. The goal of this event was to raise awareness of Elgin’s vibrant arts community and to increase visitors to its art attractions. The event was regarded as a success with participating businesses reporting that almost 500 people visited Elgin Arts Trail member locations during the two-day event.

For a copy of the Elgin County 2012 Year in Review Report please visit . For more information about Artastic Elgin or the Elgin Arts Trail please visit or call (519) 631-1460 ext. 168.

Left to Right: Kathryn Russell, Tourism Coordinator; Alan Smith General Manager of Economic Development;  Jennifer Patterson, EDCO Past President;  Mark McDonald, Elgin County CAO; Jessica Nesbitt, Economic Development Assistant; Katherine Thompson, Marketing & Communications Coordinator; David Marr, Elgin County Warden

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Valentine's Day in Elgin County

Local Valentine's Events 

Valentine's Day Chocolate Tour - Quai Du Vin Estate Winery 
Feb 15 & 16 @ 11:00 am, 1:00 pm & 3:00pm
45811 Fruit Ridge Line, St. Thomas

Join Winemaker Jamie Quai as he takes you on a guided tour of the winery along with tastings and pairings of wines and some unusual chocolate dishes. 

Visit to book your tour. 

Aylmer Community Theatre Presents - The Man With the Plastic Sandwich
Feb 13 - 22
Tickets $15, Students $10
Old Town Hall Theatre, Aylmer 

"The Man With the Plastic Sandwich" by Roger Karshner was originally performed in 1981. The story of a man who, after 20 years at his job, is fired, resonates today as it did in the early '80s. Encounters in the park with three engaging and provocative characters help Walter on the journey on which he has embarked. This show, directed by Barbara Warnock, will be entered in the Western Ontario Drama League Festival as an in-festival production.

* The Valentine's Day performance is followed by light refreshments and a meet and greet with the cast.*

Sparta House Tearoom Valentine's Day Lunch/Dinner
Feb 14 -16 
46342 Sparta Line, Sparta

A free gift awaits each lady with the purchase of a meal.

Heritage Line Herbs Valentine's Weekend Events 
Feb 14 & 15
53443 Heritage Line, Aylmer

Pick-up your pre-ordered heart-shaped pizza. Heirloom seeds on sale. Pizza samples. Introduction of new dried herb blend - Roasted Potato Seasoning. Fair trade chocolate sampling. Valentine tea sampling. 

Sale on Heart-Shaped Potpourri and In-store Draws - Sparta Candles
Feb 14                                                                  

46361 Sparta Line, Sparta 

For one-day only heart-shaped potpourri wax is 20%. Sparta Candles will also be holding in-store draws. 

Local Valentine's Gift Ideas

Rockin' Raspberry and Strawberry Chocolate Decadence Wines - Rush Creek Wines

48995 Jamestown Line, Aylmer 

These sweet dessert wines are perfect to sip with your sweetie on Valentine's Day! Stop by the winery or order online at 

Heart-Shaped Pizza and Pizza De Brigadeiro (Brazilian Chocolate Pizza) - Heritage Line Herbs
53443 Heritage Line, Aylmer 

Heritage Line Herbs is now taking orders for heart-shaped pizzas and Pizza De Brigadeiro (Brazilian Chocolate Pizza) for pick-up on Valentine's Day weekend or the weekend before. Please visit to place your orders in advance. 

Harbourtown Fudge 
288 Bridge St., St. Thomas

It will be love at first bite when your sweetheart tastes these sweet treats from Harbourtown Fudge. Unique flavours include: Pink Champagne, Cran-Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter and more! Check out all the flavours online

Valentine's Day Spa Specials - Holistic Awakenings Day Spa
Feb 8 - 22
46349 Sparta Line, Sparta 

Treat that special someone to a day of pampering. Specials for couples, women & men. 

Aylmer Performing Arts Council Tickets
Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre 

Tickets to a musical performance at the historic Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre or seasons tickets to several performances are a perfect way to make Valentine's Day last all year. Visit to check out upcoming performances and to purchase tickets.

Sweet Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast - Aylmer

236 Talbot St. E., Aylmer 

Whether exploring the area or enjoying a quiet night away, this exquisitely restored heritage home is perfect for a romantic getaway. 

The Kettle Creek Inn - Port Stanley
216 Joseph St., Port Stanley 

Spend an evening at one of Ontario's finest inns enjoying a cozy and congenial atmosphere and a delicious selection of local dishes. 

The Windjammer Inn - Port Stanley
324 Smith St., Port Stanley 

A night at this quiet and romantic inn is sure to delight. In the restaurant, enjoy a special Valentine's menu prepared by a first class chef.

From the Meadow - Natural Skin Care Products
3881 Avon Dr., Belmont 

Treat your skin this Valentine's Day with sweet smelling lotions and soaps, body butters and sugar scrubs all made with natural products. Visit to check out some great Valentine's deals. 

Clovermead Honey 
Imperial Rd., Aylmer

Get some honey for your honey at the Clovermead Honey Gift Shop. Open year-round, gift baskets, treats and farm-fresh honey are available.

Picards Peanuts
Corner of Hwy #3 & #4, Talbotville

Freshly roasted Ontario peanuts, crispy potato chip covered peanuts, toffees, chocolates, caramels and more make the perfect gift for your Valentine!