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Meet the Branches of the Simcoe Area in Ontario

Simcoe Area is part of the Western Region between Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario.  It has 20 Branches with much of Ontario’s history embedded in its Tweedsmuir Books. 

Here is a way that one group of WI’s brought the history to the present.

What can one do with Four WI’s and 6 Tweedsmuir Histories?   Add in a Community Artist/Historian, a Digitizer and a volunteer property guy and you come up with the Penetang Road Historic Village Signage Project. 

For over three years, a small group of WI members has worked on this history task, and, on September 25, 2015, it all came together as we held a gala and officially unveiled all twelve signs. 

The WI’s of Wyebridge, Waverley, Craighurst and Crown Hill, all in Simcoe County, mined their Tweedsmuir histories and produced Story Board signs for their villages that lie along the 1815 Road that goes from Kempenfelt (Barrie) to Penetanguishene. 

With funding from the Trillium Foundation, with assistance from Simcoe County Archives, with permission from four Townships and one city (Tiny, Tay, Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Barrie), the committee installed signs at 8 locations.

On September 25, we displayed all 24 life-size proofs in Wyebridge Community Centre. Two hundred people attended.  Mayors, the Warden, the Area President, even our new MPP joined local neighbours and pioneer family descendants in admiring the signs and congratulating the “Road Gang” that did all the work.   

The project featured one of the Women’s Institute’s most prized possessions, the Tweedsmuir History.  Those books are treasure troves of information, happily suggested by Lady Tweedsmuir so that “nothing valuable is lost or forgotten” in a community. They provided the bulk of the photo and articles for all the signs, and are really the stars of the whole endeavour!

Submitted by Sheila Craig, Craighurst WI, South Kempenfelt District

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