Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

On the afternoon of Dec. 22, in line at Pearson Airport, three hours before their flight to Cuba, Jacqueline and Ralf Winter will be carrying with them some very special sporting goods luggage. On their way to their Cuban holiday on the beach of Guardalavaca, Jacqueline and Ralf, who live in Barrie, will be transporting a used racing bike, destined for a high school cycling racing program in Banes, Cuba.

This particular bike is special because it is "Nueva bicicleta #100," the hundredth refurbished racing bike that Jackson’s Point resident — and former Canadian national cycling team member — Jeff Reid has supplied as humanitarian aid to Cuban high school cycling racing programs in Banes, Varadero, Moa and Jaguay Grande, in just two years.

Jeff first donated his own bike, while cycling around on holiday in Cuba in December 2009. Since that time, his personal ‘Bikes for Cuba’ vision has grown. In 2010, helpful Canadian tourists brought 30 bikes down for him. This December, with the help of Jacqueline and Ralf, Jeff’s dream of one hundred racing bikes delivered to four Cuban communities will be realized.

“One of the most heart-warming aspects of this project, is the ongoing generosity of the cyclists who donate the bikes, the parts, the helmets, shirts and shoes,” says Jeff, “and the willingness of so many Canadian tourists to help out. ‘I couldn’t have done it without them’ would be a huge understatement!”

“Jeff has made this so easy,” says Jacqueline Winter of her special 100th Bikes for Cuba cargo. “It’s the least we can do in return for the great hospitality Cubans show almost a million Canadian tourists every year now. And all the young people who will ride these bikes, will get to see that a bicycle really is a wonderful way to get around, especially in a place as beautiful and safe as Cuba.”

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Still time to apply for winter programs at Georgian

The perfect gift this holiday season: education.  No need to wait until next fall to start learning. Georgian College offers many winter programs and it’s not too late to apply now and begin in January. In some cases, you can even fast-track your program!

Traditionally, the academic year begins in September, but Georgian saw its highest full-time spring enrolment numbers ever in 2011, indicating a growing demand for program intakes at multiple points throughout the year.

To support flexibility and to accommodate the diverse and changing needs of prospective students, Georgian now offers programs in a variety of disciplines that will start in January.

A wide range of programs are offered in many locations. 

Providing flexibility and accommodating the diverse and changing needs of prospective students of all ages is key. Georgian offers a large number of programs in a variety of disciplines starting this January. Areas of study include Automotive, Business and Management Studies, Culinary, Community Studies, Design and Visual Arts, Health and Wellness, Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety and Security, Liberal Arts and Engineering Technology.

“In today’s competitive environment, many employers demand a specialized post-secondary education from applicants. Georgian graduates enter the job market with an edge to getting the career they want,” said Linda Love, Vice President Academic of Georgian College.

“Many potential students who are thinking about attending college are discovering that they can become job-ready faster by starting classes in January. They don’t need to wait until the traditional fall start to get on track.


By offering full-time and part-time programs, as well as continuing education courses throughout the year, Georgian allows students across the region to study what they want, how they want and when they want. This flexibility allows anyone, regardless of obligations such as family or work, to obtain the education they desire.

By beginning studies in January, students can become trained and enter the workplace sooner.  Students are encouraged to apply soon to avoid disappointment – popular programs fill up fast. Most winter programs will begin Jan. 9.

To learn more about the programs being offered at Georgian College this January, call 705-722-1560 or visit

On Dec. 9, 2011, the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) — Local 32, Canadian Federation of Students — at Lakehead University-Orillia will release a petition to bring GO Transit to Orillia. The petition will be circulated throughout the University and Orillia community, calling on local politicians and university administration for support.

The petition says: “We, the undersigned, are students and residents of Orillia who believe strongly in the vital role that accessible public transit plays in helping us make our way to class, home and work.
We are troubled by the lack of accessible and affordable transportation options for people travelling to and from Orillia. Students are particularly impacted, many of whom live in other parts of the province and pay the highest tuition fees in Canada.

We know that affordable, accessible transportation services provided through GO Transit have successfully serviced communities like Orillia, who benefitted economically and in other ways from increased mobility.

We believe that GO Transit should service the Orillia community and call for;
• Orillia City Council to support this call and lobby the provincial government to fund the service expansion;
• GO Transit to commit to expanding service to Orillia;
• The provincial government to fund the service expansion of GO Transit to Orillia

We also call upon these bodies to ensure that students and community members have access to transportation services that bring them to and from Orillia by expanding GO Transit service, strengthening the community and serving as a further means for economic expansion in the city”

To support this petition, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario says the government's energy conservation achievements are substantial, but incomplete. In releasing volume two of his 2010 Energy Conservation Progress Report, Managing a Complex Energy System - Results, Gord Miller says "the government achieved two-thirds of an electricity conservation target that it had set. It's a respectable showing given that Ontario's targets are among the most ambitious in North America".

What concerns Miller more is that the value of conservation seems to have been lost in the public debates over energy, especially when debating electricity prices or building new generating plants.

"The government should step up conservation efforts because it saves customers money, reduces environmental damage, and helps avoid new and often unpopular power plants," Miller says. As the past two years have shown, willing host communities of any type of power plant are hard to find.

The Environmental Commissioner says the Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report shows mixed results in the government's conservation efforts.

•  Ontario's electricity conservation efforts reduced peak demand by 1,750 megawatts (MW) in 2010 due to new programs and initiatives that began in 2005. This is the equivalent to not having to build three new natural gas-fired peaker plants. By investing about $1.7 billion in conservation programs, Ontario saved electricity ratepayers $3.8 billion in avoided electricity supply costs. However, this achievement was only 65% of the 2,700 MW peak demand reduction target that the government had set itself.

•  Energy savings from the conservation programs operated by the province's natural gas utilities performed well against the targets approved by the Ontario Energy Board. These programs were very cost-effective, providing more than $400 million in net benefits and a reduction of 185 million cubic metres in the amount of natural gas used in 2010.

•  There are no results available on the conservation impact of time-of use (TOU) pricing.  The government is only now beginning to measure how people have changed their consumption with the introduction of TOU. The prices, set semi-annually by the Ontario Energy Board, are not based on actual data of how price levels affect customers' consumption. TOU prices should incorporate this real-world information in order to maximize the amount of conservation.

•  There is a risk that electric utilities will not meet their 2014 electricity conservation targets. Not only was there a delay in the province-wide programs delivered by the Ontario Power Authority, but the Ontario Energy Board has been unsupportive of customized-programs that were supposed to be offered by utilities.

The Environmental Commissioner says "I want to impress upon the new Energy Minister, in light of the actions of the Ontario Energy Board and program delays, that immediate action is required if the electric utilities are to meet the 2014 targets that are a condition of their licence. The alternative," says Miller, "is to give them more time." 

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Georgian College leads the way in health care education

The Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness at the Georgian College Barrie Campus is thriving. Now that the doors have opened to students and the public, state-of-the-art laboratories, study areas and community health clinics are buzzing with activity, as Georgian helps prepare Simcoe County’s future health care providers.

The largest expansion in Georgian history, the Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness spans 172,000 square feet and houses all Health and Wellness programs at the Barrie Campus, along with six community health clinics: Oral Health, Massage Therapy, Georgian College Optical, and in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Georgian Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic. Two additional clinics will open in January, the Spa and Esthetics Clinic and the Harmonize for Speech, Hearing and Language Clinic.

Students are gaining hands-on experience in the community health clinics, getting them a step ahead as they prepare to start their careers in health care.

Third-year Massage Therapy student Joline McAneney knows what a positive impact her time in the new Massage Therapy Clinic will have on her future career.

“The hands-on experience that I get in the clinic is absolutely key for my career,” says McAneney. “It’s amazing to be able to apply the skills we learn in class to a real clinical scenario.”

McAneney dreams of working in a health care facility and eventually owning her own massage business.

“I already have up to five appointments per week with clients, which is great,” adds McAneney.

In addition to providing hands-on clinical experience for students, Georgian is also blazing a new trail by partnering with the Barrie Family Health Team and introducing electronic medical records software training into the curriculum. Students will become accustomed to using a program called Accuro® through Optimed Software Corporation. It will be taught in the classroom and used in the community health clinics. This program is already being used by many health care institutions in the Simcoe County region, so students in programs such as Massage Therapy, Dental Hygiene and Office Administration– Medical will already be well versed in the program before entering the health care workforce.

“Georgian College is the first college in Ontario to partner with a Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic and the Barrie Community Family Health Team, which represents many family health teams,” says Dr. Cassandra Thompson, Dean, School of Health and Wellness. “This is truly an interprofessional initiative, which really supports the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s vision to bring together different health care providers to co-ordinate the highest possible quality of care for patients in our communities.”

Many community members in the Barrie area and beyond are already benefiting from the care provided by students and health care professionals in the community health clinics. Kerry Pinkerton has been a client of the Oral Health Clinic, originally located at the Orillia Campus, for more than a year.

“I like coming to the Oral Health Clinic for my dental care,” says Pinkerton. “It’s a bright, comfortable atmosphere and the students are great. I know they need the experience, so I’m happy to help provide them with that.”

It’s also very affordable for those who may not have access to health benefits.

“I don’t know where I would receive my dental care if not for the Oral Health Clinic at Georgian,” says Pinkerton. “It’s a great price for the services I receive.”

The centre’s $62.5-million price tag was funded by federal and provincial contributions from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, as well as municipal, corporate and individual donors to the college’s Power of Education campaign. The new building will eventually enable enrolment in Health and Wellness programs to double, allowing 3,000 students to be accepted into Health and Wellness programs.

Two of Georgian’s newest programs in the School of Health and Wellness are Esthetician and Pharmacy Technician. An additional program being introduced for fall 2012 is Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapy Assistant. They will join existing programs such as Opticianry, Paramedic, Personal Support Worker, Practical Nursing and many others.

For more information about the Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness, community health clinics or Health and Wellness programs at Georgian College, please visit

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