Media Release: Huntsville Day, Annual Theme Announced

March 25, 2018


(HUNTSVILLE, ON) The Town of Huntsville hosted a public media event today to announce their annual community theme for 2018.

Following a Land Acknowledgement statement, Community Services Co-Chair, Councillor Jonathan Wiebe, addressed the gathering in Partners Hall, “On this day, March 25 in 1886, Huntsville was officially incorporated as a Village by the Province of Ontario. At that time, it took 750 people to be recognized as a village. Those 750 hardy souls, with their ‘spirit and resolve’ carved out not only a legal ‘village’ but the resilient and progressive community that we enjoy and love today.

Then, as now, people care about freedom, family, safety, housing, health, education and employment. The economy and employers have changed over time, yet the fruits of their labour – and in many cases the fruits of their loins - remain.

In 1886, Huntsville residents formed municipal government. They attracted their first doctor, Doctor Howland, and they introduced a very progressive optional ‘medicare’ type program to pay him. They built transportation systems, water works, electricity and roads. They formed arts and culture and civic organizations to improve their lot, many of which are with us today.

Today we celebrate the achievement of those first 750 Village People, and we honour their memory by commemorating March 25 as Huntsville Day. Each year on Huntsville Day we will announce an annual theme for our community based on their legacy from the past and on their vision of a better future.

The idea behind having an annual theme for Huntsville is simply to pull our community together. In this time of ever increasing technology, rising social media and disconnected social relationships, this is critical for community resilience.

The idea of an annual theme is provide an over-arching “unique selling proposition” that will:

A. Support all of the partner brands and their goodwill equity

B. Provide focal point for brainstorming, refreshing activities and events yearly

C. Engage community: residents and tourists

The themes are based in history (local and world) and current events.

For 2018 Huntsville’s theme will be: “Good Governance: It Takes A Village” The 2018 theme honours the 750 hardy individuals that formed to incorporate Huntsville into a Village in 1886; and recognizes that it “Takes a Village” to form government. Especially with upcoming provincial and municipal elections, everyone needs to be engaged and involved.

To our knowledge, no other municipality has undertaken this kind of ongoing overarching collaborative approach to refresh and retain market share and to engage and enlighten residents and visitors.”

The event was attended by collaborative partners who provided a sample of the initiatives they would be presenting on the Huntsville 2018 theme in the upcoming months:


  1. Arts, Culture & Heritage –On the subject of “Firsts” and “Good Government” the Town of Huntsville is hosting a free Wampum Belt History session in the Algonquin Theatre on the evening of June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
  2. Muskoka Heritage Place – Captain George Hunt was present representing Huntsville’s namesake. Canada Day celebrations on July 1, 2018 will take place in the Village at Muskoka Heritage Place, because, “It Takes A Village.” While there, you can visit the Ashworth Hall, built in 1878, where Stisted Township and Agricultural Society meetings were held until 1896, a built preservation of “Good Government.” They also had a reprint of the Huntsville Forester newspaper from Huntsville’s centennial in 1986 on hand, which proved very popular.
  3. Huntsville Public Library – is avital centre to collaborate, connect and explore the world in which we live. Today they showcased some of the many amazing services they offer including their 3D printer, and revealed how easy it is to become involved with good governance through the Library Board.
  4. Algonquin Theatre – It Takes a Village to support and run a municipal theatre.
  5. Rotary Club of Huntsville - is a long-standing service organization that works with people and businesses in the community.  The motto of their diverse, energetic group is ‘service above self’.  They raise funds to help build new projects in town, and help support various groups across both the community of Huntsville and internationally.
  6. Huntsville Festival of the Arts – with the Muskoka Concert Band – combined their creative and artistic forces to create a tribute to the Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band, through the recreation of a live concert and visual display titled ‘Brilliance’ to be performed in the upcoming season.
  7. Culture Days – In 2017 Huntsville was #2 across Canada in towns with populations below 50,000. New for 2018 in Huntsville is an Ontario Culture Trek to drive participation around the province, and a street festival by the BIA which you can be part of, titled ‘750 in the 705’.
  8. Huntsville Art Society – Village Art Project: Artists in the Schools – also, art on display in Partners Hall.
  9. Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce – Maple Festival will expand to include more of a focus on the historical and cultural aspects of Maple in Muskoka which will include sap boiling, an actual sugar shack, artifacts, teachings and expanded entertainment.
  10. Downtown Huntsville BIA - also known as the first location for the “Village” is proud to present a Macaroni Festival in September of 2018.  The festival will showcase local food and entertainment rejoicing in the iconic history of the Strano Macaroni Company that was built in Downtown Huntsville in 1913.
  11. Recreation and Leisure Services - It takes a village to raise a child, and Town of Huntsville’s Recreation & Leisure Services Department’s Youth Day Camps offer 9 fun-filled weeks of summer camp activities, action packed games, swimming, sports, skating, baking, crafts, canoeing, nature hikes, special events, outdoor fun and much, much more!

Councillor Wiebe continued, “The slideshow you have just seen, and our community partners, will be weaving the theme “Good Governance: It Takes a Village” into their activities and events for the remainder of 2018. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that it’s an election year, and we all would benefit from some good old-fashioned policy and issue-debate politics.”

Participation in the annual theme is voluntary and free, and activities are linked by the use of the “mail stamp” logo. Organizations or businesses that would like to participate in the 2018 annual theme and would like to use the logo in their promotional material are encouraged to contact Lisa Spolnik, Manager of Marketing for the Town of Huntsville at 705-789-1751 ext. 3042.

Councillor Wiebe concluded, “Our community is built on the backbones of thousands of individuals who volunteered for service, and that hasn’t changed over time. The many sporting events that we are known to host - and host well – are testament to the power of collectives.

Our community has weathered many storms over the years. The way we got hospitals and transportation and even government was to work together to get them. Let’s continue to work together now to get, keep and protect the services our people need, and let’s do it with some spirit and resolve.

If we have some fun today, we’ll be back to do it all over again in 2019, with a new theme – and we hope you will join us!”


For more information contact:
Teri Souter
Manager of Arts, Culture & Heritage,  Town of Huntsville
705-789-1751 x 2357

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