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Norfolk County
Economic Development
185 Robinson St, Ste 200, Simcoe, ON N3Y 5L6 Canada
Phone: 519-426-9497
Toll Free: 1-800-699-9038


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Norfolk farms add to national fruit & vegetable production

The farm-gate value of Canadian fruit and vegetable products rose 7.4% from 2015 to $2.2 billion in 2016, according to Statistics Canada. Favourable weather conditions resulted in increased production, which contributed mainly to this growth.

Norfolk County is a leading growing region of fruit and vegetables in Canada. Norfolk County farmers are the nation’s Number One growers of asparagus, cabbage, ginseng, peppers, pumpkin, sour cherries, strawberries and sweet corn. Norfolk County is Ontario’s leading growing region of blueberries.

After passing the $1-billion mark in 2015, the value of vegetables grown across Canada continued to grow in 2016, up 7.6% to $1.2 billion. Carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, dry onions, sweet corn, broccoli and peppers accounted for more than 50% of the total value of field-grown vegetables in Canada.Carrot sales amounted to $122.9 million in 2016, followed by tomatoes ($111.6 million), lettuce ($88.1 million), dry onions ($87.1 million) and sweet corn ($75.6 million).

Chart 1: Fruit and vegetable farm-gate value
Fruit and vegetable farm-gate value

The total value of fruits rose 7.1% to exceed the $1-billion mark for the first time in 2016.

High bush blueberry production rose 6.4% to 85 769 tonnes, but the value decreased by 0.1% to $170.8 million. British Columbia production represented 95.6% of total high bush blueberry production in Canada.

In 2016, apple sales represented about one-fifth of the total national fruit value. The overall apple yield in Canada increased 13.9%, mainly because Ontario recovered from a 15.8% production decrease in 2015, which was due to winter damage and a late spring frost. Ontario represented 38.8% of total apple production volumes in 2016.

Total grape value increased 24.5% to $151.1 million. Favourable weather conditions contributed to higher yields in different wine-producing regions of Canada. Ontario (57.2%) accounted for the largest share of the total grape value.

Higher values were reported for strawberries (+7.1%) and raspberries (+9.7%).

Townsend Lumber group of companies under new ownership

Townsend Lumber, and its group of companies, announced new ownership recently.

Laura Townsend and her husband, Mike Penner, have assumed ownership of the Townsend family businesses which include Townsend Lumber, Kitchener Forest Products, Breeze Dried and BreezeWood Floors. The business succession makes Laura the third-generation owner of the Townsend family-run business.

For over 50 years, Townsend Lumber has been responsibly managing, harvesting, and sawing timber in southwestern Ontario. The company manufactures and sells kiln dried lumber and industrial hardwood products, and through its integrated companies, Breeze Dried and BreezeWood Floors, also produces and sells lumber drying sticks and quality solid hardwood flooring.

These are exciting times for the group of companies – the Townsend family business is truly a local, entrepreneurial story. The business was established by David Townsend’s father Robert over 50 years ago as a travelling sawmill, supplying local farmers with firewood for their tobacco kilns. With entrepreneurial vision, hard work and dedication, David’s ownership saw the Townsend Lumber business grow and evolve.

David Townsend built the impressive Townsend Lumber mill 30 years ago at the current location in northwest Norfolk County (Hwy 3 and Jackson Side Road). In subsequent years, David acquired another sawmill, Kitchener Forest Products, and built the Breeze Dried stick facility to produce his revolutionary patented lumber drying sticks.

In 1999, the BreezeWood Floors division was created to manufacture quality solid hardwood flooring. BreezeWood has a state-of-the-art nanotechnology finishing line which delivers industry leading durability and phenomenal finish clarity. BreezeWood flooring is sold at BreezeWood retail factory stores and through various retailers and distributors.

David, along with his wife Brenda, are now stepping out of the day-to-day operations and passing control to their daughter, Laura Townsend and her husband, Mike Penner. Laura and Mike (along with their two young children) are excited to make their own entrepreneurial mark on the family business.

Together, Laura and Mike have a strong understanding of the business; Laura starting working in the family business at a young age, and has worked in many departments of the company over the years. After school, Laura obtained her Chartered Accountant designation, and since then has been working full-time in the business, managing the finance, human resources and information technology aspects of the companies. Mike has also been working in the business, mentoring with David, primarily focused on Operations, where he has developed a true passion for and dedication to the business. Under Mike’s management the company has been rejuvenated and seen significant efficiencies and an increased team spirit.

“We look forward to continuing the 50 year old tradition of the Townsend family business, and building on the business my father has established” said Laura Townsend in a media release. “We are passionate about providing high quality and eco-friendly products. We are a truly Canadian company and believe in keeping our business local, and supporting the community. We are excited about what the future holds for the business.”


Townsend Lumber and Kitchener Forest Products are sawmills that manufacture and sell high quality kiln dried hardwood lumber, commercial and industrial hardwood products, and landscaping materials. Through its integrated companies, Breeze Dried and BreezeWood Floors, lumber drying sticks, and quality solid hardwood flooring are also manufactured.

Townsend Lumber is dedicated to procuring logs from local woodlots that have been responsibly harvested. This ensures the natural resources are being preserved for future generations, and their products have a very low carbon footprint. Notably, Townsend lumber recently earned FSC certification from the Forest Steward Council and the Rainforest Alliance.

Townsend Lumber is proud to support its community. With approximately 150 employees, the company has contributed to the community as a local employer for decades, and sponsors various local sports teams and events.

The company’s location between the Great Lakes provides ample Carolinian forest species and accessible transportation routes to move material throughout North America and beyond. 

Townsend Penner

Left to right: Laura Townsend, Mike Penner, David Townsend and Brenda Townsend.


Norfolk County promoting to OFVC delegates

Norfolk County will be reminding delegates at the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention that our farmers are number-one growers of many fruits and vegetables, and that several innovative business are located here.

On February 22-23, 2017, in Niagara Falls, Norfolk County will place information in delegate kits distributed to 2,500 attendees to the two-day convention. The OFVC features horticultural experts, educational sessions, trade show exhibitors and networking opportunities.

Many farmers and agri-business owners from Norfolk County will be attending the annual conference.

OFVC flyer

One side of the flyer to be distributed by Norfolk County to delegates to the OFVC

  • More about the OFVC

Norfolk County’s Student Start Up Program wins award

Norfolk County’s Student Start Up Program (SSUP) is the winner of this year’s Private Public Partnership Award from the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO).

Norfolk County also received an honourable mention for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award, which is a best-in-show category for the EDCO Awards, for the SSUP Program. About 60 communities made submissions for 110 projects commencing last year across the province.

“SSUP Norfolk provides students in Grades 6 through 12 the opportunity to try self-employment during their summer break,” said Jerry Sucharyna, Economic Development Analyst for Norfolk County. “Students submit a simple business plan and successful applicants are awarded $200 to get started.”

Last spring, Sucharyna was welcomed to all but two schools across the three school boards in Norfolk County to present to students about SSUP. As a result, 86 applications were received from students and funding was available for 40 businesses involving 52 young people.

In its first year of operation, about $9,000 was raised from the private sector to fund the cash awards to students. Sponsors were Annex Business Media, Titan Trailers, Van Amerongen & Son Inc., Venture Norfolk, Rassaun Services, Norfolk Rotaract Club, MHN Lawyers, The Beach House, CarStar Collision & Glass Service, Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show and Picard’s, with in-kind support from Simcoe Reformer, MyFM and Whistling Gardens.

“SSUP was successful because community-minded entrepreneurs and others stepped up and funded it,” said Clark Hoskin, Manager of Tourism & Economic Development. “We need more business leaders and organizations to get on board to show the youth we value them and want to grow the program.”

Gube’s Cubes

SSUP participant Kieran Gubesch, a Grade 6 student in the Langton area, runs Gube’s Cubes, selling ice cubes to cottagers and tourists driving on Hwy 59.


Development News – Feb 9, 2017

The latest edition of Norfolk County Development News email has been published.

Latest headlines:

  • Titan Trailers plans 92,000 sq. ft. expansion 
  • Council approves budget for incentives
  • Norfolk County joins Ontario Food Cluster
  • Population up: Port Dover grows 7.9%
  • Meat processing expansion in Norfolk
  • North Dover Mills housing plan seeks approval
  • More on-farm diversified uses supported
  • Properties for Sale

View latest edition

Norfolk Development News banner


Norfolk County joins Ontario Food Cluster

Norfolk County has joined the Ontario Food Cluster, an alliance of 18 economic development organizations across the province that builds international trade and investment opportunities for the 3,000-plus companies in the communities’ agri-food and beverage sector.

Ontario Food Cluster’s membership is made up by regions, municipalities and Federal/Provincial Departments: Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, Durham Region, Elgin County, City of Guelph and University of Guelph, Hamilton, London, Middlesex County, Niagara Region, Norfolk County, Ontario East, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Sarnia-Lambton, Simcoe County, Southern Ontario Marketing Alliance, Waterloo Region, Wellington County and Windsor Essex.

Ontario Food ClusterFood and beverage processing in the province is expected to grow to a $40 billion industry, and the agriculture and agri-food sector is Ontario’s number one employer. Ontario food exports total $9.91 billion, with 130,000 people working directly in agri-food processing/manufacturing and wholesaling, and another 483,000 in related sectors such as food service, retail and specialty stores.

The Ontario Food Cluster’s primary aim is to generate interest from foreign companies with demonstrated capabilities to undertake greenfield or brownfield investments to expand their North American presence.

North Dover Mills housing plan seeks approval

An application by 2015954 Ontario Ltd (George Eggink) has been received by Norfolk County Community Planning to amend the Norfolk County Official Plan to adopt a Secondary Plan for the North Dover Mills planning area in Port Dover. 

The proposed amendment is the first phase of the secondary plan for the planning area.  The first phase of the proposal includes 119 single detached, 44 semi-detached and 23 units of street townhouses. The proposal also includes blocks for parkland and storm water management.

For more information, contact Planner Kayla Rell at Norfolk County Community Planning.

North Dover Mills Plan

Titan Trailers seeks approval for major expansion

Titan Trailers of Norfolk County is planning to build a 92,000-square-foot finishing plant as part of a major expansion of its transport trailer manufacturing business. About 50 additional workers will be needed for this new operation. 

Norfolk County Community Planning has received a combined Official Plan Amendment (OPA), Zoning By-law Amendment (ZBA), Site Plan application and Consent application for development and expansion of the Titan Trailers operation.  The applications are outlined as follows:

  • An OPA to place a site-specific Agricultural policy on the subject lands.  The amendment will be an extension of the existing Site Specific policy on the main Titan Trailers property (, and permit industrial uses on the subject lands. 
  • A ZBA to rezone the lands from “Agriculture (A)” to “General Industrial (MG)” to permit the use. 
  • Site Plan application to review the technical details and design of the development for a new finishing plant facility for Titan Trailers with a ground floor area of 8,547 square metres (92,000 square feet), with associated parking, landscape and storage.
  • A Consent application to sever a 1.55 hectare (3.8 acre) parcel from the adjacent property (also owned by Titan Trailers – Parcel 1 and 2) and add it to the lands identified as Parcel 3.

For more information, contact Senior Planner Shannon VanDalen at Norfolk County Community Planning.

Titan Trailers expansion

Population increase in Norfolk County: Port Dover up 7.9%

Norfolk County’s population increased to 64,044 in 2016, up 1.4 per cent compared to the 2011 Census.

The population center of Port Dover witnessed the highest population growth among towns in Norfolk County, at 6,161, up 7.9 per cent.

Port Dover population up 7.9%

The former town of Simcoe is the largest population center in Norfolk County. It reported a population of 13,992, up four per cent.

Population growth above the Norfolk County average was also demonstrated in other population centers, including Waterford: 3,132, up 3.5 per cent; Port Rowan: 1,102, up 3.1 per cent; and Delhi: 4,240, up 1.6 per cent. 

Population growth in Haldimand and Norfolk County increased by only 0.6 per cent. The province of Ontario saw a 4.6-per cent increase.

Statistics Canada does not provide population figures for other settlement areas and hamlets in Norfolk County, which is a single-tier municipality. Towns within Norfolk County are no longer in existence for statistical purposes, and referred to as population centres. 

Population Growth comparison



Townsend Butchers expands

Townsend Butchers of Norfolk County recently received planning permission to complete a 4,500-square-foot expansion of its meat-processing operation north of Simcoe.

Townsend Butchers is expanding its workforce of 18 even as it is investing in new machinery, reports the Simcoe Reformer. Another specialty of growing importance is the plant’s smoked meat division. This too requires significant investments in equipment and compliance with strict provincial regulations.

The addition will provide space for processing, production flow improvements, shipping on the main floor and employee amenity space on the second floor. The existing traffic flow and onsite parking are to remain, with the loading docks to be relocated and reconfigured to accommodate larger vehicles. The existing retail space will not be increased but will be shifted to the west on the main floor.

Townsend Butchers focus on niche areas of the meat-packing business are part of a trend toward boutique specialization in the local agricultural sector.

Townsend Butchers Steve Miedema

Steve Miedema of Townsend Butchers