Category Archives: Essay blog

Success is in the Wind at BIA National Conference

For Immediate Release: April 16th, 2018

Success is in the Wind at BIA National Conference

It’s highly unlikely that Alexander Stewart realized he was laying the groundwork for an insightful enterprise that would reinforce the growth of a community. After all, it was 1862 and he was building a traditional, timber-frame barn on his property just north of Brussels, Ontario.

Leap forward 156 years, and thanks to the innovative passion of developer, Bryan Morton, a local businessman, Stewart’s beautiful heritage structure has become a vital keystone in the renewal of this historic downtown.

The significant impact that the Brussels Four Winds Wedding & Event Barn has made upon the community since its opening is remarkable. And as a result, the initiative has been recognized with the prestigious Bricks and Mortar Award at the 2018 National Business Improvement Area Conference held in Collingwood this week.

Introducing a typically rural structure to the core of a village takes some visionary skills. “I have a great fondness for timber-frame barns”, says Morton. “When I was farming, I was too busy to participate in the community, but now it is time to give back.”Morton began conceiving his idea in 2014 to craft a rustic, yet elegant venue available to the public for hosting celebrations and gatherings. The structure was donated by Herman Terpstra and piece-by-piece, the old barn was disassembled, transported and rebuilt on new foundations adjacent to the restored and expanded Brussels Carnegie Library.

And as of April 2018, over 60 weddings and events have been booked with more anticipated; inquiries are already being entertained into 2021.

The barn will also become home to Fresh Petals, a new flower shop, which will reside in the ‘stone house’ portion and the local Farmers’ Market will be housed in the lower level of the building, allowing its season to extend from 5 months to year-round. Barbara Terpstra and Kathy Stephenson, members of Morton’s “Dream-Team” will preside over both.

This win is the sixth OBIAA award for the Municipality of Huron East, and Economic Development Officer Jan Hawley acknowledges that it takes a team to make this kind of change.

“All levels of community need to get behind the project, which was evident in Brussels”, says Hawley. “After years of building a foundation for the revitalization of the village core, this investment is providing the catalyst for growth and property improvement for our quaint, historic community……and the rest is history, so to speak.”

Congratulations to the Morton Family and their dedicated and passionate team.

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For more information contact: Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer – Municipality of Huron East 519.527.0160 x5

What’s in store for Rural Ontario’s future?

The FUTURE continues to shine brightly for the Village of Brussels for 2018.

Municipality of Huron East, Huron County 

Huron East’s Economic Development Officer and Community Futures Huron volunteer, Jan Hawley is smiling a lot these days—for many reasons.  Following three successful “Win This Space” competitions and the Municipality of Huron East’s immensely positive presence at the recent International Plowing Match, the Village of Brussels continues on an upswing with another new business arriving in town with the promise of more to come.

“This federally-funded program has had a presence in Huron East for nearly a quarter of a century through the Community Futures offices of the Huron Business Development Corporation in Downtown Seaforth”, Hawley reports. “However, when the board made a decision to move its offices last year, it triggered an extensive search throughout Huron County for the newly branded “Community Futures Huron” with the location landing in Downtown Brussels.” says Hawley, “And I couldn’t be happier.”

“Momentum is building in the village,” she goes on, “with several additions to its business district—the opening of new ventures Fresh Petals, JD & Companythe Federal Development Community Futures operation, as well as the opening of the unique multi-faceted site, Brussels Four Winds Wedding & Event Barn later this spring.  Additional people living and working in a community are always good for business, and with new enterprise comes renovated and upgraded storefronts.”

Community Futures Huron Staff

(L to R) Natasha Mahon, Heather Little, Paul Nichol, Brenda McGregor, Lisa Houthuyzen

Tina Heathers

Community Futures Huron General Manager Paul Nichol is also looking forward to moving the office and staff to Brussels and to providing the usual excellent assistance entrepreneurs have come to expect.  “In addition to business growth and community revitalization,” states Nichol, “we’ll be focusing on management advice and mentoring to owners, provision of commercial loans, and support to local economic development projects.  We have a new name and a new location, but we’ll continue to offer the same valuable service we have for 25 years.”

Community Futures Huron is particularly excited about a new undertaking—the restoration of two historic mills,” he goes on, “one at Gorrie and the other being Logan’s Mill in Brussels.”

“We’re working with the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority on these projects, which will involve renovation and re-purposing of the mill sites, two of only four remaining of the 68 mills once located along the Maitland River.”

The Management Board of Brussels’ Medical-Dental Centre is particularly happy about soon having the remaining half of the centre’s upper floor occupied and to be welcoming new people to the village’s workforce.  Board Chair Mary Stretton foresees positive spin-offs for the village from the Community Futures relocation, which she is pleased to announce completely fills the centre.

And as of January 2018, Barb Terpstra, proprietor of Fresh Petals, will be offering original and traditional floral bouquets and arrangements, not only for weddings booked at the Four Winds Wedding & Event Barnbut also for locals, who wish to brighten someone’s day.

Jackie deWit, winner of the 3rd annual Huron East Win This Space competition and her JD & Company has already settled into her newly renovated storefront and is now offering village and area residents with exceptional non-toxic household products and commodities by bringing her ‘green’ business to main street Brussels.

“Brussels is booming” saga continues!

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Written by Carolyn Parks Mintz for the Municipality of Huron East

 

 

Contact: Jan Hawley  Economic Development Officer                           

Municipality of Huron East ~ Seaforth, Ontario

Officer: 519.527.0160 Cell: 519.525.7677

jhawley@huroneast.com 

Honouring the Past….Shaping the Future

Historic Landmark Purchased by Local Family

Located in the Village of Vanastra, former CFB Clinton

Jason, Stephen and Andrew Oud are not only good businessmen, they’re good neighbours, good corporate citizens, but more notably, they are visionaries……evident in their recent purchase of the iconic “Radome” located in the Village of Vanastra, the former Canadian Forces Base Clinton (CFB) in the Municipality of Huron East of Huron County.

The Oud’s connection to the former military community is longstanding through their parents’ link to Canada, and the deliverance of their homeland in The Netherlands during World War II.  The liberation of Holland by Canadian forces, with the help of new technology at the time, namely Radar, was not lost on the Dutch, with many immigrating to Canada after the war.

After farming the land in Huron County for several decades, Peter and Joan Oud (coincidentally) purchased the dining hall at this once bustling Royal Canadian Air Force radar training base.  Today, the refurbished and remodelled “Other Ranks Mess Hall” is now the home of Vanastra Packaging, owned by their sons.

The role of radar and the technical training conducted at RCAF/CFB Clinton were critically instrumental in the Allies winning World War II — and evidence of this significant achievement is now in the hands of the Oud brothers.  The derelict white dome that housed state-of-the-art radar instructional equipment stands as a testament to Canada’s substantial contribution to the war effort.

The Oud’s vested interest in the Village of Vanastra goes beyond their business—it involves pride in the history of the former base as well as community spirit, both of which lead them to undertake initiatives that improve the neighbourhood, the environment, working conditions and local lifestyle.  Value-added is more than monetary to these successful entrepreneurs, and the story doesn’t end HERE! .

With the acquisition of this iconic landmark, the Oud brothers have their sights set on renovating and re-purposing this building for commercial or institutional purposes. Although, the historical significance of the Radome is not far from their thoughts, propelling them to investigate opportunities to preserve and protect a portion of this important military icon.

If there was ever an example of the RCAF motto, “Per Ardua ad Astra” – “Through Adversity to the Stars,” it’s the Oud boys and their futuristic hard work!

 

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Contact:

Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer

Municipality of Huron East

519.527-0160

jhawley@huroneast.com