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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 publication aimed at agriculture

A new “Norfolk Farms” publication is being distributed across Norfolk County to businesses and people of the local agricultural community.

Norfolk Farms Mag FrontIt is a joint effort of Media Pro Publishing, the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture, the University of Guelph’s Simcoe Research Station, and Norfolk County’s Tourism and Economic Development office.

The 40-page colour tabloid includes stories about:

Pick up a copy at Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development, 185 Robinson Street, Second Floor, Simcoe, or call Media Pro Publishing at 519-429-0847.

Norfolk Development News – March 15, 2017

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

Latest headlines:

  • New restaurant planned for downtown Simcoe
  • Habitat for Humanity plans ReStore in Simcoe
  • Proposed tourism expansion in Turkey Point
  • Townsend Lumber group under new ownership
  • 3 new innovative tourism businesses in Norfolk County
  • Student Start Up Program innovative program
    for young entrepreneurs
  • Norfolk hires new County Manager
  • Properties for Sale

View latest edition


March Dev News

New restaurant planned for downtown Simcoe

Norfolk County Community Planning is reviewing a site plan application submitted by Don Schott Hardware Ltd. of Simcoe for the redevelopment of 56 Norfolk Street South in downtown Simcoe to convert the main floor of the existing building and parking lot to a restaurant and outdoor dining area with seating for about 40 people.

The property was historically used by Kindy Furriers as a clothing warehouse and retail store.

Schott property 24 Norfolk St Simcoe

Tourism expansion in Turkey Point

LBS Group of Paris is seeking permission from Norfolk County Council to convert a commercial property in Turkey Point to develop a seasonal accommodation business comprised of four semi-detached units and a single detached unit.

Turkey Point duplex concept

Turkey Point duplexes

Norfolk hires new County Manager

The Corporation of Norfolk County has completed the recruitment process for the new County Manager and is announcing that Mr. David Cribbs has accepted the position. Mr. Cribbs will commence his duties as County Manager on April 18, 2017.

“I am pleased on behalf of County Council, County staff and the residents of Norfolk County to welcome Mr. David Cribbs as our new County Manager,” said Mayor Charlie Luke. “Mr. Cribbs was selected recently for this position after many hours of recruitment and interviewing.  I am confident that Mr. Cribbs’ many years of public service and his background as a municipal solicitor will be of benefit to us.”

Mr. Cribbs most recently served as General Manager, Corporate Services Division/County Clerk/County Solicitor for the County of Lambton, and has more than 14 years of municipal experience at both urban and rural municipalities. Mr. Cribbs also has experience working as an associate lawyer in a private law firm.  Mr. Cribbs is a frequent lecturer at various municipal conferences and association meetings and has expressed passion for municipal issues.  He feels the ability to work in public service is a privilege.

David Cribbs Norfolk County

David Cribbs

Originally from South Porcupine, Ontario, he holds Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Degrees. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School. He is married with two children and is an avid sports fan.

The position of County Manager has been vacant since February 3, 2017 due to the resignation of Keith Robicheau.

The County Manager selection committee included the Mayor, members of Council and staff.

Habitat for Humanity plans ReStore in Simcoe

Habitat for Humanity is proposing to locate a ReStore business in Norfolk County at 29 Park Road, Simcoe, formerly Chances Bingo.

The organization is seeking permission to amend the Norfolk County Zoning By-law, on a site-specific basis, to add a lumber yard and building supply establishment and resale of used household goods, as an additional permitted use in the General Industrial (MG) zone. The subject lands are designated Industrial Business Park in the Norfolk County Official Plan.

Planning staff are supporting this zoning bylaw amendment and new business. ReStore will have at least two full-time staff and some part-time staff. They are also looking for several volunteers.

The application goes to public meeting before Norfolk County Council on March 28, 2017.

Restore Planning Map

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.