Municipality of Huron East is Digging Digital

Huron East to Launch Digital Main Street Service Squad

$20,000 Digital Main Street Grant will help main street businesses improve online presence.

October 5th, 2019:  Seaforth, Ontario. The Municipality of Huron East today announced that they have received a $20,000 grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) to fund a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help main street small businesses in the communities of Huron East improve their online capabilities.  The program will be launched at a special event, “Wine & Cheese – Toasting Digging Digital,” on the evening of Friday, October 18that the Seaforth Golf Club.  Details will be issued later in October. 

Huron East received the grant from the Ontario government as part of the Digital Main Street initiative to help small businesses in Huron East’s community cores to enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better evolve and grow. The Squad will consist of one trained specialist and several support staff, who will visit and assist businesses at no cost, to help them set up Google Business, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.  The Squad will start visiting businesses on October 5th, 2019. 

“Over the past decade, the Ontario BIA Association has supported communities throughout the Municipality of Huron East with the delivery of countless innovative and proactive business initiatives,” said Economic Development Officer Jan Hawley. “The Digital Main Street program is no exception, illustrating how provincial partnerships working together can strengthen the business environment through improved communication, and help build the foundation for a more prosperous economy. For that reason alone, we are extremely grateful.” 

Downtown Seaforth BIA District, one of three communities in the Municipality of Huron East, which is taking part in the Digital Main Street program. The other two include Brussels and Vanastra.

A joint program funded by the Government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small main street businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and DMS will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory. 

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in Huron East will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology.  Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”

“The Digital Service Squad in the Municipality of Huron East will help local businesses gain the expertise necessary to compete in the digital environment,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce. “The training they’ll receive will help provide them with the tools and opportunity to expand their customer base using the convenience of digital technology.”

Digital Main Street Service Squad (L to R) Huron East EDO Jan Hawley, Seaforth BIA Director Maureen Agar, DMA Squad Specialist Kaleda Connell & Seaforth BIA Chair Tracey McKee

Digital Main Street offers two types of grants: 

  1. Digital Transformation Grant: There are 2,000 grants of $2,500 each available to qualifying small “main street” businesses across Ontario to help them adopt new digital technologies. 
  • Digital Service Squad Grant: There are 300 grants of $10,000 each available to qualifying municipal or business groups across Ontario to develop and implement local squads of digital vendors and experts to directly help small businesses. 

“We are always excited when municipalities take advantage of Digital Main Street on behalf of the downtown cores of their communities. Huron East clearly understands the importance of digital technology and the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their main streets vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association.  “Our small main street businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural health, and it’s vital that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the small downtown businesses in Huron East compete in an increasingly digital world.”  

Businesses within the downtown areas will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad in the next several weeks. For further information contact Jan Hawley at 519.527.0160 x5 or 

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ABOUT the Municipality of Huron East 

The Municipality of Huron East, a short drive from the shores of Lake Huron, embodies three historic settlements surrounded by productive agricultural lands. The Town of Seaforth, the largest of its urban centres, is unique in the fact that it is one of the oldest heritage conservation districts in Ontario with a vibrant downtown core.  In 2008, the municipality took a more active role in the development of its local economy by engaging a full-time economic development officer. Since then, the profile of the community has been heightened through the execution and promotion of award-winning economic development initiatives. Huron East continues to lead by example throughout rural Ontario.

ABOUT the Ontario BIA Association

OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.

ABOUT Digital Main Street 

Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squad teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption.  The program was originally created by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Rogers, Microsoft and Shopify.  The Province of Ontario expansion of Digital Main Street is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association.  The Ontario expansion is part of the government’s $12 million Main Street Enhancement Initiative to create jobs and support communities across the province.  For more information, please visit


Jan Hawley

Economic Development Officer

Municipality of Huron East

519.527.0160 x5

Ninety is Glorious……

“Gloria, I think they got your number.”

You’re invited to join us in the Historic Town of Seaforth, as we celebrate the arrival of “St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smythe & Selke Champion” Ryan “Snook” O’Reilly on Thursday, July 25th, 2019, as he brings all the hardware to the Municipality of Hurn East.

In honour of Ryan, the Seaforth BIA and the community of Huron East are celebrating his achievements by offering a FREE draw for five $90.00 gift certificates redeemable at any one of the Seaforth BIA businesses. Ballots are available from any BIA member in the Business Improvement Area. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

For a complete list of locations visit the Shop Seaforth website. Ballots will be available on parade day Thursday, July 25th at the stores along the parade route until the close of business on Saturday, July 27th, 2019.

Catch the “Seaforth Spirit”…….

While you’re at it, don’t forget to get your Ryan O’Reilly T-Shirt. Shirts can be purchased at one of the following locations;

Sills Home Hardware

Re/Max Reliable Realty – Maureen Wildfong

Realty Executives Platinum – Brenda Campbell

The Looking Glass

Robinson Chevrolet

Seaforth Town Hall

Thank you Huron County

Message from Ryan O’Reilly, Member of the St. Louis Blues 2019 Stanley Cup Champions & Winner of the Conn Smythe & Selkie Trophies……

I would like to formally thank the community of Huron County for the ongoing love and support you have shown me throughout my entire career, as well as, specifically throughout this year’s exciting playoff run. Huron County will always be home to me. From the calming open spaces to the warm greetings everyone gives one another around town, this is a place that I always come back to relax and reconnect with myself, friends and family.

There are so many people, who have supported me on my journey to winning the Stanley Cup. I could not have attained the ultimate hockey goal without all of you. Starting with the Seaforth Stars and the Huron Perth Lakers, both fantastic organizations that helped me grow as a competitive player. I would like to thank all of my sponsors that made playing hockey with the Huron Perth Lakers possible. Your generosity has impacted my life drastically. I would like to thank all of the coaches I’ve had over the 25 years I’ve been playing hockey. Every single one of you taught me something I was able to use in my development. I would also like to thank all of my teammates over the years and their parents who helped drive me to practices and games when my parents were busy with my siblings.

To the staff at Seaforth Arena (Graham, Kevin, Skinny, Todd, Doug, John & others), thank you for the countless times you let me come in and skate when the ice wasn’t being used. I fell in love with the game of hockey there and your kindness made the world of a difference. You were never obliged to let me skate there but you always did and I am forever grateful.

To my family, thank you for the time and money you put into traveling for my practices and games or even just taking me to the gym. You are selfless and generous and I can’t thank you enough. I hope that I can provide the same opportunity for my kids as they grow.

To my amazing grandmother Deirdre O’Reilly, I can still remember you buying me brand new skates because my other ones were falling apart. Thank you so much for being my biggest supporter and always having my back. To My late grandparents, Rose & Maurice Bowler, & John Austin, born in Ashfield who would be so proud that one of their own brought the Stanley Cup back to the County. Who would have thought that my late grandpa Maurice Bowler, who I never met, would impact me by planting the seeds of hockey while playing in the Lucknow arena many years ago?

To the schools I grew up in….St. James and St. Anne’s. I have so many great memories from both of your schools. I made some amazing friendships during my time there as well. Your teachers were always so patient with me and supported me so much throughout my time there. I still get a smile on my face every time I drive by.

And lastly, to the staff at the Goderich YMCA, thank you for providing me with a place to train and push myself. You’ve always been so accommodating with our family to make sure we had everything we needed to train over the years.

There are still so many people I haven’t gotten a chance to thank, but I looking forward to being able to celebrate with you all. I’m excited to announce that on Thursday, July 25th I will have the Stanley Cup with me to celebrate with all of you. Our day will start with a parade at 9:30 am in Seaforth (Seaforth Fire Department) from there, we will make our way to the Seaforth arena where I will be taking pictures until 11:30 am.

Following this we will make our way to Goderich for another parade starting at 1:00 pm and ending at the Goderich YMCA where I will be taking pictures until 3:30 pm. To make this day run as smoothly as possible and to hopefully share this experience with as many of you as we can, I will only be doing pictures and no signings on this day. I do not get the cup for very long and this will help ensure that everyone will have time to get a picture with the cup. I will return later this summer and would be happy to sign anything for you at that point, but I kindly ask that you wait until then.

I still can’t believe the outcome of this year and want to thank you all for helping to make my dream come true. I can’t wait to share the Stanley Cup with all of you. I’m looking forward to sharing this with as many of you as I can and I look forward to seeing you on the 25th.

Sincerely, Snook O’Reilly