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​​​​award of merit
The Award of Merit was established in 1956 to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Town of Midland. Council meets each year to determine if there are eligible recipients in a given year and to decide amongst eligible candidates who the recipients will be in a given year. This year, there were three worthy recipients.​

2018 Recipients

2018 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Chris Edwards​

Chris Edwards with Mayor Stewart Strathearn

​Our next recipient was born and raised in Tay Township, attended St. Theresa's High School in Midland, and went on to earn a Diploma in Business Administration from Georgian College in 1994, followed by a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at Lakehead University. In 1998 he attained his professional designation as a Chartered Accountant. He is a member of the Harvard Business School President's Club with certificates in Leadership Best Practices, Strategy Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage.

In 2002 he joined Weber Manufacturing, an internationally recognized leader in custom tool manufacturing, and worked his way up to President in 2007.

He is a remarkable business leader who successfully led the growth of Weber Manufacturing in Midland while championing youth apprenticeship for the skilled trades, benefitting our area's youth and manufacturers.

While serving as President, he pursued his passion of promoting skilled trades. He has been actively involved with the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) –working with Georgian College, the County of Simcoe, school boards and regional high schools to open the lines of communication with industry and generate interest and awareness for careers in skilled trades.

His leadership has led to industry tours, Career Days, Skilled Trade Expos and speaking at public events. These efforts have significantly contributed to the 800% increase in enrolment over two years for students entering the General Machinist program through Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.  He serves as a Director on a number of local non-profit boards including the Audit Committee for the Simcoe Country District School Board, the Advisory Committee to Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation and has previously served as President and Treasurer for Credit Counseling of Simcoe County.

It is my esteemed pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Chris Edwards.  ​


2018 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Barb Rowlandson

Barb Rowlandson with Mayor Stewart Strathearn

​In June of 2013 the first “Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival" was held in Midland. Over 10,000 butter tarts were sold within hours of the start of the festival. By noon there wasn't a single surviving butter tart in downtown Midland.  It was then that the potential of the “Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival" and its benefits to the Town's tourism and local businesses became apparent.  

The festival came about because Barb Rowlandson had an idea.  She gathered a couple of supporters and set out to establish the first “Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival". Barb worked to get the permissions and support required to close a street for a day. She sought out sponsors and vendors and helped to organize the advertising, marketing and promotions needed to make the festival a success. On the day of the festival she was everywhere dealing with the hundreds of issues that naturally occur in an event of this magnitude.

For the first few years Barb led the event with the help and support of the Downtown Midland Business Improvement Area, the support of her friends and a growing group of enthusiastic volunteers.   

Since its inception the festival has grown dramatically. Last summer, the 6th “Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival" attracted an estimated 65,000 people. The 200 participating vendors sold somewhere upwards of 150,000 butter tarts. But the success of festival goes beyond the one-day celebration. The festival has immensely helped Midland's tourism efforts. It has drawn comment on radio and TV stations and media outlets across the province. It has even been mentioned in the New York Times. The coverage generated is far beyond anything that the Town could have anticipated or afforded to buy.

Thanks to Barb's vision and her persistence we have an event we can all take pride in - an event that brings a great many benefits to the Town. 

It is my pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Barb Rowlandson – queen of the butter tart. ​


2018 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Kathy Willis

K​athy Willis wit​h Mayor Stewar​t Strathearn
​Kathy Willis has been a strong feminist advocate in the anti-violence movement in Midland and throughout Simcoe County.  Kathy is the Executive Director of Huronia Transition Homes, a charitable organization in Simcoe County working to end all violence against all women.  She runs the women's shelter, La Maison Rosewood Shelter in Midland.  Under Kathy's leadership, Huronia Transition Homes has grown from a single program women's shelter to a multi-program county-wide organization offering a women's shelter with specialized counselling and support services for women and their children who have experienced abuse or have been exposed to violence.  

Kathy's vision to build a program that went beyond conventional programs for women who have experienced violence and provide opportunities to mitigate the impacts of trauma, isolation and poverty resulted in the establishment of “Operation Grow". She has ensured that the revenue derived from the sale of the herbs and vegetables provides sustainability to Operation Grow and helps fund the programs and services of Huronia Transition Homes.  Kathy is currently working on plans to grow the social enterprise even more.

Kathy is an advocate for the inclusion of all women in our community.  Her passion and dedication has been honoured with many awards.

She is an inspiring and passionate speaker at community events in Midland such as the Annual December 6th Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Walk a Mile in her shoes, many collaborative events and vigils to show solidarity with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women campaign.  Kathy speaks in solidarity with those who have been killed and wounded as a result of hatred and bigotry and in support of those who seek equality, affordable housing, dignity and peace and invites all members of the community to do their part to end violence against women.   

Kathy currently chairs the CAS-Violence Against Women collaboration committee in Simcoe County.

It is, indeed, a pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Kathy Willis. ​



2017 Recipients

2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – The Wilson Family
2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – The Wilson Family.
Jennifer, Kristeen, Brian & Carol with Mayor Gord McKay
​Community Service truly is a family affair for the Wilson Family.

Brian, Carol and their two daughters, Kristeen & Jennifer, are one amazing family, an inspiration to all and a true asset to Midland and the surrounding communities.

The Wilson's have volunteered and continue to volunteer countless hours to the Midland Curling Club, Civitan Club and Special Olympics.

If you have ever visited the Midland Curling Club, you would be hard pressed not to see one or all of the family there.  Brian is world renowned for his ice making abilities and is a member of the Ontario Curling Association's Provincial Ice Team, traveling across Ontario making the best curling ice for curling competitions. But making ice is only a small part of this family's work and contributions at the Midland Curling Club. Every Sunday for the last 20 plus years, the Wilson's have run the Little Rock Curling program, introducing hundreds of children to the wonderful game of Curling.

The family's work does not stop there.  Carol has been a long time member of the Midland Civitan Club. The Civitan's have been hosting the Annual Canada Day Parade and every year you'll see the family involved doing whatever is required to make the event a great success.

While the family has given of their time selflessly and devoted countless hours to the Midland Curling Club and the Midland Civitan Club, the family's true passion for the last 25 years has been the Special Olympics.  Brian, newly appointed District Coordinator, Carol, Christine and Jennifer, truly are a blessing when it comes to the Special Olympics. The endless fundraising, training, coaching and travelling with athletes cannot be understated.

It is indeed a great pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Brian, Carol, Jennifer and Christine - the Wilson family.   As a special note – this is the first time since the establishment of the Town's Award of Merit that a family has been recognized.  Congratulations!​


2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Julie Barker
2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Julie Barker.
​Julie is someone whose passion and commitment to environmental sustainability, creativity and education expands beyond Midland's boundaries. As one of the founding members of the Midland Community Garden in Little Lake Park, Julie Barker can be seen gardening most days throughout the gardening season.  An educator at heart, she has been able to capture the critical importance of urban gardening as part of our urban landscape. She is an ambassador for the town – sharing with visitors gardening tidbits, a beautiful photograph or offering a sample to eat.

Since its establishment, she has helped the community garden expand by reinforcing volunteer partnerships, supervising and providing opportunities for community involvement to many groups and organizations including high school students, CNCC, Chigamik, Community Living, Wendat, the Boys and Girls Club and others. Along with co-founding volunteer, Laura Jane Wilson, she has helped secure donations from multiple sources.  She has linked the garden to initiatives such as Zuchinnimania and the Library Garden tour.

Her proudest moments are working with children and giving them the opportunity to learn where food comes from. Her commitment to growing food stems from 20 years of farming with her husband, Dr. Elliott Barker.  During this time, she has provided arts and craft instruction to many different initiatives in North Simcoe and their farm was a destination for an annual geography trip for MSS students.  

In the 1980's, she helped to establish local moms and tots groups in the region, as well as create a community support network for parenting during the early years.  Together with Maureen Bissett, she reinforced the growing movement of Family Resource Centres in our region.

In the 1990's she served on the Board of the “Family Playhouse", now known as Midland's “Early Years Centre".  For 25 years, she worked with her husband who produced the quarterly journal “Empathic Parenting". 

Upon retiring from her teaching career in the late 1990's, she trained in Reading Recovery and volunteered in one-on-one literacy sessions in local schools. Julie is involved in green issues at every level of government, speaking up for the natural environment and sustainability.

It is indeed a great pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Julie Barker.


2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Kevin York
2017 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Kevin York.
​To say that Kevin York is an asset to our community falls short of describing all that he does for the people of our area.  Kevin has been a long-time supporter and volunteer for Community Living Huronia and CLH Foundation, and has assisted with numerous events and fundraising campaigns for both organizations.

Kevin is eager and enthusiastic to help CLH in any way that he can, and he can be counted on to use his unique way of garnering support from community members.  Kevin will happily hit the streets and collect prizes for the annual golf tournament, or most recently, as the Support and Include Ambassador tasked with collecting donations to send people supported by CLH to the annual fundraising event, 'A Red Carpet Evening' as a guest.  Whatever task he is given he carries it out to the completion and surpasses the goals and expectations.

Anyone that knows Kevin can attest to the fact that his spirit and his heart are bigger than most.  There are many people who volunteer for CLH and CLH Foundation, but the energy and commitment that Kevin brings to each and every project are unparalleled.  When preparing the nomination for the Merit Award, several staff members of CLH were approached to determine how long Kevin has been volunteering for CLH and what he has helped with, and the resounding answer was “forever" and “for everything."

Other events where Kevin has provided his support is the Simcoe County Warden's 13th Annual Golf Tournament, and the Salvation Army Kettle Bells.

Kevin fully embraces community spirit and selflessly gives every bit of himself to better our community.  There is no-one more deserving of recognition for his dedication to Community Living Huronia and to our community.

It is indeed a great pleasure to present the Award of Merit to Kevin York.

2016 Recipients

2016 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Nancy Spiker
Nancy Spiker-Award of Merit 2016.​For 24 years as co-owner and president of "A Passion for Fashion' Nancy Spiker has demonstrated a commitment to the sometimes abstract concept of corporate social responsibility. Year after year Nancy has organized charity events that have raised tens of thousands of dollars for worthy causes in our community. Her annual spring fashion show has become a major fund raiser for a variety of foundations and community groups including: the GBGH, the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, Regent Public School and the Community Living Huronia Foundation.

For the past six years her efforts have been focused on helping the Community Living Huronia Foundation. Her annual fashion show brings together CLH clients, volunteers and the community at large to raise needed funds as well as community awareness. It is a must attend fashion show, community event and a charity event rolled into one. It's also a lot of fun.

It is not always the foundations that capture Nancy's attention. Sometimes it is the other way around. In October Nancy partnered with the Huronia Community Foundation, to raise money for Team Evan. Evan is a young man in Penetanguishene born with autism, cerebral palsy and type 1 diabetes. Evan's care exceeded the limited supports available in the community and a GoFundMe campaign was started to raise money to buy a Medical Sniffer Dog. Nancy embraced the cause and directed the proceeds of her 25th-anniversary celebration toward the Team Evan fund.

Nancy is not alone in these efforts, no one could do all this without help - but it is Nancy's drive and passion that has brought together the volunteers, friends and co-workers that have achieved so much good on behalf of their community.

It is with great pleasure that we present Nancy Spiker with the 2016 Award of Merit.​


2016 Award of Merit Recipient - Moreland Lynn

Moreland Lynn - 2016 Award of Merit Recipient
(Accepting on behalf on Moreland is his wife Leslie).
​Moreland was the son of the late George Lynn (a veteran of WWI, first Park Warden of Beausoleil Island National Park, and an honourary First Nations Chief) and his wife Millicent of Penetanguishene. Moreland held a Commerce Degree, Teacher's Certificate and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Queen's University. He financed his early studies through his summer job at Grew Boats and by trading penny stocks. Later he published two business text books with McGraw-Hill Ryerson. After he returned to Midland, he was a teacher and became a well-recognized and respected figure in business and community service. For over a decade his distinctive voice was heard twice a week as a commentator on CKMP radio, as well as on cable television. He served as a Councillor, Reeve and later Mayor of Midland throughout the years 1967 to 1982. His businesses included the first A&W in Midland and Collingwood, Huronia Office Services, and Midland Printers.

Moreland Lynn was a man who made full use of his talents and never wasted a minute.  Always available, his public accomplishments were broad and diverse with far-reaching effect. He sat on dozens of volunteer boards and committees supporting many different community interests. As Mayor, he was convinced that the growth of new business and infrastructure was essential to the area. He was keenly interested in local heritage, participating for over a decade as a ministerial advisor for Discovery Harbour and Ste. Marie Among-the-Hurons. Equally interested in the arts, he was a co-founder of the Stage Company from which the King's Wharf Theatre emerged and personally performed in several productions by Huronia Players. His strong bass voice enriched numerous choirs.

He shared his interests readily and conversed with great enthusiasm on almost any topic.  Moreland loved conversation.

In 2001, Moreland was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the Province of Ontario, presiding in the Barrie Court for 10 years. This was the professional role he loved most. Here he was able to freely apply his great compassion, wisdom, and common sense.

It is with great pleasure that we present the late Moreland Lynn with the 2016 Award of Merit.​


2016 Award of Merit
Recipient - Bryan Peter

Bryan Peter - 2016 Award of Merit Recipient
​Bryan has dedicated his professional life to Parks & Recreation.  In 1975, Bryan graduated from Fanshawe College with a Recreation's Leadership Diploma and was hired that same year as Director of Recreation for the Town of Wiarton. He spent the next 10 years with Wiarton and the Town of Seaforth before making the big move east to join the Town of Midland.

Bryan was the Director of Parks & Recreation for the Town of Midland for 30 years and during this time, his many accomplishments shaped the Town to what it is today, including;

+ Project Coordinator for the development of the North Simcoe Sports & Recreation Centre

+ Developed Staff/Council Committee for Communities in Bloom program

+ Participated in the development of the Boys & Girls Club, Huronia Gymnastic Club, Skateboard Park, and the Midland Soccer fields, to name a few.

Anything that had to do with Parks & Recreation in Midland over the last 30 years, Bryan had a hand in developing.

Bryan was always looking at ways to improve, not only himself, but on how Parks & Recreation was delivered.  After 25 years on the job, studying many nights and weekends, Bryan was able to obtain his Bachelor of Recreation & Leisure from Brock University in 2000, which was an amazing accomplishment.

Bryan also volunteered his personal time to 20+ organizations, including the Midland Sports Hall of Fame, Askennonia Seniors Centre, Midland Silver Stick, Tall Ship and Airport Committee.

Recently, the Town of Midland, along with our partners, the Town of Penetanguishene, the Township of Tiny and the Township of Tay, welcomed approximately 1,300 visitors (both participants and non-participants) to our area August 9 to 11, 2016, for the 2016 Ontario 55+ Summer Games.  Bryan's leadership as Games Manager was crucial in order for our area to successfully host an event of this magnitude.  The Games were a huge success!

Bryan is a true leader in the Midland Community and we are honoured to present him with the 2016 Town of Midland Award of Merit.


2016 Award of Merit Recipient​ – Ross Heacock​

Ross Heacock-Award of Merit

 (Accepting on behalf of Ross is his wife Becky)

Ross Heacock was born on December 5th, 1942 in Collingwood Ontario and was raised in the village of Elmvale. After completing high school he attended Waterloo Lutheran for his undergrad and then onto Osgoode Hall for law degree.  Ross came back to the area and settled in Midland where he joined an existing law practice. Ross practiced law in Midland for 48 years. His career evolved into a partnership to create a firm with Gord Teskey and Rod Ferguson for several decades; then a new partnership with Guy Ditomaso, and finally as a sole practitioner.  During that time Ross acted as the Municipal Solicitor for the town for 20 years as well as other municipalities.

Ross was involved in various aspects of the community as he served on the executive Midland Chamber of Commerce for several terms, the Board of Directors at the Midland Golf and Country Club and was a Charter Member of the Board of Governors of the Midland Sports Hall of Fame.

Ross was known for his athletic pursuits beginning with minor hockey in Elmvale and then several years on the Waterloo Lutheran varsity team. He played recreational hockey and also played on the original Midland Oldtimers team that traveled to tournaments throughout eastern Canada and in Europe. He was a proud member of the Midland Oldtimers Saints hockey club playing tournament and league hockey along with fund raising exhibition games against NHL Alumni teams; the Leafs, the Canadians and the Flying Fathers for over two decades.  Ross was also an avid skier having mastered the slopes in Collingwood and visiting most of the major skiing venues both locally and across Canada. In the summer, Ross pursued the perfection of golf at the Midland Golf and Country Club where he was a member for over 30 years.  He was also noted for his tournament plays a various clubs in Ontario.

Ross was a raconteur of note as his finite recall of details or historical facts or stories of places, people and events were legion amongst his friends and aquaintanences.   Ross was the consummate promoter and booster of Midland and the community definitely benefited by his presence here.

It is with great pleasure that we present the late Ross Heacock with the 2016 Award of Merit.​