Mehreen Shahid, Orillia Packet & Times

Mehreen Shahid

Stories

Janie Cooper-Wilson, right, admires the Lieutenant Governer's Ontario Heritage Award for Community Leadership received last week by Mayor Harry Hughes on behalf of the township for the work done on the restoration of the Oro-African Church. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

Township receives heritage awards

To Janie Cooper-Wilson, the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church is a gold mine of history, culture and community, and recognition of its restoration by the province is incentive to use it as a beacon of hope.

Orillia Housing Resource Centre, operating out of the Common Roof building on Front Street North, is among the various community partners Simcoe County works with to achieve its 10-year affordable housing targets. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

Orillia on target for affordable housing

Orillia is well on its way to achieving its affordable housing goal, with 42 units already built as part of its 2024 target, according to a county official.

Grades 1 to 3 students from Monsignor Lee Catholic School are pictured at Orillia Public Library, where the Canadian children's author Helaine Becker treated them to a morning of storytelling. For the full story, see page A3. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

Lifelong learning at the library

Screams of laughter rang out from kids in the program room at the Orillia Public Library as a Canadian author read out her ode to underwear.

Shannon Hawke, communications coordinator at Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH), stands next to her video art submission, Healing, for the 21st Annual International Women's Day Art Show on at OMAH from Feb. 15 until April 23. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

Women steal the show at new exhibit

Renewal is in the air as works from dozens of local women artists is set to adorn the walls of the gallery at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH).

Ten-year-old sisters Carly Ouellette and Emma, of London, Ontario, took the icy jump at the Polar Bear Dip. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES.

Clear weather a boost for Winter Carnival

Orillia Winter Carnival saw a revival of sorts when hundreds of people traversed up and down main street enjoying the fun and festivities throughout the day. They stretched all the way from Mount Mississaga to the arts and sports activities held by the city and Camp Couchiching to the fundraising, bone-chilling Polar Bear Dip for the Lighthouse.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES Gordon Launchbury and his wife of 47 years, Isabelle, take a walk down memory lane and their wedding album.

Looking back on 50 years of love

There was something about the girl who sat quietly in the school bus, talking only with her best friend.

Pressure on as township talks budget

Provincial legislative requirements, policing costs and council priorities will guide this year’s budget for a neighbouring municipality.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES A couple of dozen people congregated at the corner of Mississaga and West streets Saturday afternoon to protest the unfulfilled electoral reform promises made by the federal government. Jacob Kearey-Moreland is pictured burning a pair of jeans as those around him chanted, “Liar, liar, pants on fire, hanging by a telephone wire.”

A burning protest

A couple dozen people congregated at the corner of Mississaga Street and West Street Saturday afternoon to protest the unfulfilled electoral reform promises made by the current government. Jacob Kearey-Moreland is pictured burning a pair of jeans as those around him chanted “Liar liar pants on fire, hanging by a telephone wire.”

The artist-sibling duo Sophie McMullen, 7, and Ben, 10, were at Orillia Museum of Art and History spreading colour on a canvas the city seems to have plenty of. The two, as well as other kids, used food colouring to spray or squirt art on snow banks in the museum's yard. The activity was held Sunday as part of family fun drop-in day at OMAH. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES.

Snowy art

The artist-sibling duo Sophie McMullen, 7, and Ben, 10, were at Orillia Museum of Art and History spreading colour on a canvas the city seems to have plenty of. The two, as well as other kids, used food colouring to spray or squirt art on snow banks in the museum's yard. The activity was held Sunday as part of family fun drop-in day at OMAH.

Close to a hundred people learned how to save a life Saturday with CPR training offered by the Simcoe County Paramedics at the Coldwater Royal Canadian Legion branch. The event collected some money for the local food bank and more than 300 lbs of items for the Sharing Place Food Bank in Orillia. Pictured are participants who learned how to use a defibrillator, from left, Sue Burke, of Moonstone, Donna Lundgrin, of Wyebridge, Krista Pfinder, of Alliston, Candace Sicari of Midland and Peter MacDonald, paramedic student at CTS Canadian Career College. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES.

Saving lives

Close to a hundred people learned how to save a life Saturday with CPR training offered by the Simcoe County Paramedics at the Coldwater Royal Canadian Legion branch. The event collected some money for the local food bank and more than 300 lbs of items for the Sharing Place Food Bank in Orillia. Pictured are participants who learned how to use an AED.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES Downtown business owner, Lorne VanSinclair, learned about new grant programs offered through the City of Orillia’s Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan at a workshop Wednesday.

Grant workshop helps business owners

Lorne VanSinclair hopes to take advantage of some of the $185,000 in grant money made available to local businesses through the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan.“We have a building on 27 Mississaga St. W. that has a second floor that isn’t utilized at all,” said the owner of Carousel Collectables. “There’s no stairwell or anything to ge

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES Janie Cooper-Wilson, a descendant of the African-Canadian settlers in Oro-Medonte, pays her respects at the Oro-African Church on Line 3 North. The site will be part of Simcoe County Museum tours this spring.

Always more to learn about church: mayor

As she sits silently in the pews of the church, descendant Janie Cooper-Wilson can feel the presence of her ancestors.“Too often, you’re looking at a gravestone, but you don’t understand that these people were living and hard-working people,” she said Thursday in an interview at the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church on Line 3 North. “Just like