For immediate release

For more information, contact:

Stan Mathewson <> (705) 305-9909

Fred Larsen <> (705) 826-4586

Prominent Orillia citizens endorse collective climate action

People of Orillia have been called to action.

More than 50 noteworthy members of the community have joined with Sustainable Orillia to endorse the following statement outlining climate crisis challenges and opportunities facing the city, post-COVID-19.

“The Sustainable Orillia board of directors is very gratified to see this level of support among the citizens of Orillia and surrounding area”, said Stan Mathewson, President of the organization.  “We thank them for their leadership, and we invite others to add their support and make the same commitment by signing on to the statement on our website”, he added.

More information, including Sustainable Orillia’s First Anniversary Report, can be found here on the website.

The statement follows, along with the names of its supporters.

Today: the COVID-19 crisis. Tomorrow: climate change

The COVID-19 crisis offers us a chance to reflect on what’s most important to us in Orillia. Our health, the health of our city and of our planet, must be near the top of the list. In a post-COVID-19 future, it will be increasingly apparent how much our economic and social success depends upon the ability of nature to provide for us.

As we recover from the pandemic, we will be reflecting on our familiar pre-COVID-19 patterns and habits. We know there will be no going back to business as usual. Instead, we have an opportunity to re-invent and re-imagine the way we do things. Rather than bouncing back, we can bounce forward.

Climate scientists, medical professionals and political leaders are all hoping this moment will be a transformative turning point when our efforts to combat one crisis will inspire action against another – the climate crisis. They are calling for a public mobilization equal to – or even greater than – the one required by COVID-19.

COVID-19 has shown us that the people of Orillia are willing to make sacrifices and can take radical, collective action when we need to. Our response to the pandemic is a dress rehearsal for an even bigger challenge: ensuring that we can thrive indefinitely and more equitably within the finite limits of nature.

As we re-build our Orillia economy, we commit to taking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to undertake and invest in sustainability – in projects that will not only create jobs but also create a city that’s even better than it was before. Our lives must be different from now on.  From now on, we are truly all in this together.

“We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.” – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

In the months and years ahead of us in Orillia, we commit to becoming a community that:

I/We commit to making Orillia a city our grandchildren’s grandchildren will enjoy, be proud of, and appreciate.


Amanda Judd

President, Designated Early Childhood Educators of Simcoe County

Amy Chevis

President, Simcoe County Elementary Occasional Teachers’ Federation

Anderson Charters

Orillia Citizen of the Year 2005

Anna Proctor

Publisher, Simcoe North LIFE (online)

Annie McCourt

Board member,  The Sharing Place

Ben Lowry

President, Lowry Building Company

Bruce Waite

Lawyer, HGR Graham Partners LLP

Carol Deimling

Teacher, Consultant

Charles Pachter

Contemporary Canadian artist

Daniel Tucker

Youth climate activist

Dave Dawson

Community Editor, Orillia Matters

David VanAlstyne

Secretary, Electric Vehicle Society; Chapter Lead, Electric Vehicle Society Barrie-Orillia Chapter

Doris Middleton

Former provincial candidate

Doug Cooper

Local artist & art instructor; former member, Committee of Adjustment, Ramara Township

Dr. Aaron & Tara Barnett

Family Physician and leaders of the Hillside Bible Chapel Day Camp

Dr. Charles Gardner

Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Dr. Ellen Field

Adjunct Professor and Postdoctoral Fellow, Lakehead University Orillia

Dr. Linda Rodenburg

Director, Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning, Lakehead University Orillia

Dr. Peter Deimling

Family Physician and Founding Lead Physician of the Couchiching Family Health Team

Dr. Robert Sullivan

Past President, Couchiching Conservancy

Gill Tillman

Orillia Citizen of the Year (2017), former Chair of Ontario Winter Games (2018), President of Couchiching Jubilee House

Gillian Lowry


Heather Kerslake

Ceramic artist, volunteer and spokesperson for the local arts community

Jamie Ross

President, Couchiching Conservancy

Janet Bigham

President, Simcoe County Elementary Teachers’ Federation

Janet Grand

Founder and former owner of The Birdhouse Nature Co., Founding Director of the Couchiching Conservancy

John Bell

Owner, Pioneer Handcraft Furniture; champion of Orillia heritage

John Morgan

Chair, AWARE Simcoe

Kathy Hunt

Marketing communications specialist

Kim Fedderson

Principal Emeritus, Lakehead University Orillia

Kirk McLean

Partner, Home Hardware Building Centre

Lance Anderson

Musician – composer, producer, director and performer

Margaret Prophet

Executive Director, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Mark Bisset

Executive Director, Couchiching Conservancy

Michael Jones

Past Chair, Orillia Cultural Roundtable; Co-Chair, Mariposa Roundtable; author of The Soul of Place: Re-imagining Leadership Through Nature, Art and Community

Pam Fulford

Professional biologist and mediator

Philip Jackman

Journalist (retired), photographer, former OMAH board member, currently member of the Mariposa Folk Festival Promotions Committee

Raquel Ness

Principal Lawyer, Ness Law

Roger Kerslake

Ceramic artist, musician

Ron Reid

Co-founder of the Couchiching Conservancy

Roy Menagh

Order of Orillia 2016, Founder and former Director of Orillia Vocal Ensemble

Shannon O’Donnell

Owner, The Roost, former candidate for Mayor of Ramara Township

Sherry Lawson

Anishinaabe Nokomis, storyteller

Susan Waite

Former Volunteer Co-ordinator, Kiwanis Music Festival; Committee member, Humanities 101, Lakehead University Orillia

Ted Duncan

President, OMAH; President, Simcoe County Historical Association

Ted Markle

Mayor’s appointee, Economic Recovery Task Force; board member Mariposa Folk Foundation and Soldiers Memorial Hospital; former Chair, OMAH

Tony Telford

President, Orser Electric

Tyler Knight

Owner/videographer/photographer, KnightVision

Valerie Powell

Former federal and provincial candidate

William Tillman

Family Physician

Zac Waite

President, Sustainable Orillia Youth Council


Sustainable Orillia is a network of citizens committed to improving the quality of life, the health and wellness, and the environment in our community. Mandated and supported by the Mayor and Council, Sustainable Orillia provides an overarching framework for programs and partnerships that target more sustainable practices across six critical sectors.

Download the Statement