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Press Release

52nd Rockhound Gemboree


Bancroft Chamber of Commerce President Mike Daly, Mayor Bernice Jenkins, Mayor Vivian Bloom Hastings Highlands and Hastings County Warden Rick Philips welcomed visitors at the gemboree opening ceremony. 


Message from Hastings County Warden Rick Philips at the opening of the 52nd Annual Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft, Thursday July 30, 2015


Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure to be here and take part in the opening ceremonies of the 52nd Annual Rockhound Gemboree!

The County of Hastings is pleased to be able to welcome you to the Bancroft area and we thank you for visiting us. 

I always feel that I am “somewhere” when I am in Bancroft.  I am proud of our County and the diverse activities it offers to our visitors.  I understand this festival has been recognized as a top 100 festival & event in Ontario.  Now that is really quite an accomplishment!!  The unique quality of an event such as this speaks to the diverse offering of tourist events that our County has to offer. 

For 52 years this event has been drawing tens of thousands of visitors from all over North America, which is why this area has been designated as the Mineral Capital of Canada.  I am told that this event is considered one of the largest gem and mineral shows of its kind in Canada and in fact North America.  Congratulations!


Our County’s Economic Development office continues to partner with the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization to further improve and enhance recreational geology in Hastings County.  Initiatives are underway to develop and promote mineral collecting opportunities in the area and encourage visitors to come to North Hastings for a unique travel experience.

While you are here, I encourage you to not only explore the exhibits, tours and the variety of minerals and gemstones but to see what else Bancroft and North Hastings has to offer.  It is obvious that they are proud of their history and heritage.

Once again, thank you for coming to the Bancroft area and sharing in this wonderful event.  I hope you enjoy your stay.  Thank you.

Press Release - May 20th, 2015



Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday March 31, 2015


Council members heard a presentation by CAO Hazel Lambe that provided an overview of strategic planning actions and considerations, and town and regional economic development initiatives. Municipal goals will be the foundation for all departmental  activities that will be delivered by management during Council budget deliberations.


To view Slide show presentation - Action Planning 2015- click here

To view Slide show presentation - Regional Shared Services Economic Development - click here 


Mayor Bernice Jenkins Comments from Tuesday December 9, 2014  


Good morning and welcome to all.

A special welcome to the new faces at the council table.

I am looking forward to getting to know each of you and what wonderful achievements this council can accomplish. This is an exciting time for us all. I would like to tell you to take time to be a sponge. Unfortunately, the business of the town must move forward. You will be making decisions based on the information before you and trust in our staff.

Through my remarks at each council meeting I try to let council know what I have been doing on your behalf. As I mentioned you will have access to my calendar and I will try to populate it with the town events that I have been asked to attend. When I have a conflict I will ask the DM or one of council to bring Greetings on my behalf.  If you know of some function coming up at which you would like to represent council, please contact me and we will try to make it happen.

 I also use my remarks to bring information from County Council. I leave my printed copies for County Committees in the office for your perusal.

County Council was sworn in on December 4th. Warden Rick Phillips accepted the position of Warden for a further two years. The Warden called 2015 as the “Year of the County Family”. He remarked on the following: The draft of the New Official Plan is to be ready by the end of 2015. We will negotiate a new contract with “911”. EMS will proceed with the “Paramedicine Pilot Project” They answered 28,000 calls in 2014. There will be five new accessible and energy wise housing units completed in Bancroft. We will work with AMO, FCM and partners at other levels of government on the National Housing Strategy. We will have a few Senior Management Positions to fill. We will continue to play a leadership role on EOWC.

Many of our services are provided for the two separated cities; Belleville and Quinte West. Both Mayors attended the Swearing In Ceremony along with the Commander from 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. They brought greetings and spoke of “Looking Forward & Growing Together with our shared services. There are representatives from both on our shared committees.

In November the County launched a new Website and a new Logo. Please take the time to check it out. EOWC presented a white paper on Bill 8.

As a County Councillor I am appointed to Committees at the pleasure of the Warden. For 2015 I have been appointed to Economic Development and Planning & Hastings/Quinte Emergency Services Committee. The Finance Committee will not be appointed until January.

Lots going on: I hope you all enjoyed the 2nd Battalion from Petawawa as much as I did. The Rally is always exciting for those who come out. I took part in the Long Service Awards for our Fire Fighters. DM Jenkins and I attended a roll out reception for EORN in Picton. I attended the AGM for Loyalist and the Chamber of Commerce. The Santa Claus Parade was great and we all appreciated the weather. Thank you to staff for their extra efforts. I visited with Santa in the newly renovated Santa’s House. The Lions have more plans for next year. There are a number of Open House (pl) over the next couple of weeks. I invite you to look at my calendar and I would ask that you let me know if there is something I have missed.

Please take a moment to check out the new plaques at the Town Office. One from the Warden honouring our Veterans and one from 2nd Battalion, Petawawa

The Staff Christmas Party is Friday night, I hope you can attend.

If there is need for a further council meeting before the end of the year we will call a Special Meeting.

For those of us who celebrate Christmas I wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas for those who don’t I wish you a Happy Holiday. Please take time to enjoy your families and friends. Come back in the new year rested and ready to work. 

It is my honour to represent this council and the people of the town of Bancroft. I thank council and staff for your support.

This ends my comments.

Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce AGM



Chamber of Commerce AGM December 2014

Thank you for the invitation to your AGM. It is my distinct pleasure to bring Greetings from the Council of the Town of Bancroft.

I am so pleased that we have a Chamber of Commerce that provides a Visitor/Information Centre for Bancroft and Region.

The Town has recognized the Chamber as the District Marketing Organization for a long time and we continue to support the Chamber financially.

A few years ago the Town felt that it was appropriate to transfer the Train Station to the Chamber and look what we have today. What a wonderful building to celebrate our history. The Chamber houses and mans the Mineral Museum. You also run the Gemboree. Now that is tourism at it’s finest.

Municipalities are beginning to understand that some services are provided more efficiently by outside agencies, especially when there are a number of partners.

For a number of years the County recognized the Chamber as the DMO for North Hastings. A few years ago there was a change of direction and the funding dried up. In 2014 a consultant was hired to do a report on tourism in Hastings County. The recommendation from that report was to again recognize the Chamber in North Hastings and the Bay of Quinte to provide this service.

Interestingly, on my travel through Madoc I stopped at the Hidden Goldmine for a bowl of their wonderful soup. In conversation with the other patrons and the owner the subject of our Chamber came up. They told me they were new members and they were excited to have the Mobile Unit coming to spend the day.

We need all partners to work together. Many of our jobs are as the result of tourism.

I look forward to what we can achieve together.

Summary Report on 2014 Partnerships, Matters of Public Interest, and Boards

Prepared by Hazel Lambe, CAO/Clerk

Several partnerships have been brought forward by the public to the Town and as a result new undertakings for community improvement and enhancement are well underway.  These arrangements are a combination of volunteer time and municipal resource supported by existing staff.

1.       The Boardwalk:

Three gentlemen of our community brought forward to Council a plan to construct a boardwalk along the shore of the York River in downtown Bancroft.  With permission to develop the Boardwalk on town owned shoreline and to seek approval from the private landowners on this section of York River shoreline the gentlemen became known as the Boardwalk Committee.  As a dedicated group of community members they have brought many generous donors to the project together to create this fabulous addition to our downtown.  When these men brought the concept to Council they stated that they had a goal to construct the boardwalk with or without any public funding.  Seeing that this project clearly had an advantage for the Town staff offered to write a Trillium grant application to support the project.  They were successful in receiving funding in the amount of $87,500 for the boardwalk project.  Meeting the requirements of the funder caused a short delay and the project was further delayed because of the Bridge St. bridge construction project.  Trillium has allowed the project to continue in 2015.  The Boardwalk Committee have dealt with some challenges but none that would prevent the completion of a boardwalk along the York River for everyone to enjoy.  With the exception of writing a grant and managing the funding agreement the Town will benefit from this development at no cost to our taxpayers. 


2.      Trails:

The Central East Ontario Sporting Coalition approached the Town about developing non-motorized trails in Vance Park Farm and from Clark Lake to Eagles Nest.  Many volunteer hours of planning and developing a plan to accomplish the development of public trails in an environmentally friendly manner were provided by the group along with the Stewardship Council, members of Council, staff and public participants.  The Ministry of Natural Resources are part of the discussions and planning and the Town has not been asked to contribute financial support.  However the town holds control for land development of this public initiative that will serve to benefit many.


3.      Spruce Lake bridge:

Access over the Spruce Lake trail bridge has caused hardship to area foresters who use the road for forestry operations.  The weight of permitted vehicles was greatly restricted due to the condition of the bridge.  The Town made many attempts to convince Provincial Ministers to provide funding for this bridge replacement as the necessary restrictions placed an economic disadvantage to our foresters, but no assistance was offered.  This year through discussions with the Bancroft Area Forest Industry Association, it was agreed that BAFIA was eligible for funding and would accept ownership of the bridge to put the needed bridge replacement into motion.  With Town public works assisting with the installation of the new bridge and minor financing from both BAFIA and the Town, our Community Futures Development Corporation and Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance provided funding to see the project completed.   This partnership between many is a true example of what can be accomplished when we set our minds to and come together for the economic benefit of our community.


4.      Bancroft Community Transit/Youth in Action

The Town maintains ownership of Riverside Park however to support our youth the Town agreed to allow BCT to have constructed a building that would allow for youth entrepreneurship.  The facility will be an enhancement to Riverside Park and will provide many business learning experiences for our youth.  We look forward to the operations of this beautiful facility made possible through a partnership with Sir Sandford Fleming College, BCT, Youth in Action, Trillium Fund and the Town.


5.      Riverside Park:

On October 14 2014 the Town was presented with the final presentation of the Destination Bancroft concept plan.  The complete presentation is in two reports that are posted on the Town’s website under Economic Development.  While the development cost projected by the consultants is beyond reasonable for the Town, the concept is excellent and the report completed what it set out to provide.  Parkland development improvements do not need to be completed all at once and with as many skilled and community minded individuals in the Town it is obvious that many of the parkland improvements could be accomplished without spending a great deal.  Having a plan will position the Town to receive additional funding for parkland and destination development.  It is an essential first step for orderly development and financial assistance.  The Destination Bancroft project was 100% funded by the province.


6.      Stone Wall:

The stone wall along the shoreline of the York River in downtown Bancroft is scheduled for repair as we have secured the funding for this project.  Although work is scheduled for 2014 it will be completed in 2015.


7.      Eagles Nest Sign:

It was brought to the Town’s attention that the Bird Watch sign on Eagles Nest is in desperate need of repair.  Initially we had to clarify ownership of the sign and was informed by the Naturalist Club that they provided the sign however it is now owned by the Town.   The Town has received a quotation for a new sign and we look forward to its replacement in 2015.


8.      The TROUT:

The Town supports our Rural Transit in many ways.  Currently there are two municipalities in North Hastings that financially support the TROUT.  The Town provides more funding and in kind services than any other Municipality in North Hastings.  Financially the Town budgeted $7000 in 2014 for the TROUT, the Town provides administrative services as the lead for Gas Tax funding for the TROUT, and the Town has supported and urged Provincial assistance for rural transit during their delegations with Provincial Ministers.

Excerpt from Rural Ontario Municipalities of Ontario Conference, Town of Bancroft Presentation to Minister of Finance 2014



North Hastings Community Care operates a regional community transit in Bancroft that services the northern half of Hastings County called The Rural Overland Utility Transit (TROUT).  The transit provides an essential service that allows people to stay longer in their own homes, have meaningful employment and access essential services including medical care.  Population retention and quality of life are provided by this valuable service.  The TROUT has an economic value and in discussions with potential investors, they are pleased to hear that this service is available. 

We ask that you consider valuable indicators to determine Gas Tax contributions for transit to include average senior population, average income and as reported by Dan Schell in his 2010 article, “transportation, an essential part of rural life in the North Hastings area, also makes up a significant portion of spending.  Using average household spending numbers from Ontario, 25.9% of Bancroft average income would go towards keeping a person in the area on the roads.”[1]

The TROUT has been successful at attracting other municipalities to explore their model.  It services seven municipalities but due to provincial funding cutbacks, service reductions have been required.  There is a definite need for community transit in rural areas.  “Without this service the quality of life for many members of this community who are aging or have mobility issues would greatly diminish.  Also, in an area where our wages are substantially lower than many other communities across the nation this service also offers people living on fixed incomes the opportunity to participate in their community in a more dynamic fashion.”[2]   “The flexibility of our transit system in Bancroft is the only thing allowing them the opportunity to continue calling Bancroft and North Hastings home.”[3]

While municipal elected representatives realize the value in a rural transit system, their taxpayers simply cannot afford the additional cost to subsidize community transit without significant support from the Province.   It is very unfortunate that necessary transportation for those who are otherwise isolated is not a possibility.  We believe that the Province should assess the value in keeping people in their homes longer, access to medication, education and jobs, and social and cultural engagement. 

Municipalities are facing financial struggles resulting in service reductions and simply cannot take on an additional service.  This is very disappointing and we realize that ceasing rural transit availability will have negative direct and indirect impacts on our economy.  We encourage the Minister to revisit the funding and analyse the direct and indirect economic impact of the transit gas tax funding termination.


9.      Boards:  BIA, Library, Arena:

The Town is very fortunate to have the many volunteers that make up the Towns Boards.  All Town Board members are strictly volunteer.  They generously give up their time and more to serve their community and for that we are very grateful.

The Bancroft Business Improvement Association is a Board made up of members from our business community and throughout the year these individuals donate their time to improve the quality of life for everyone to enjoy.  From assembling found and dedicated old doors and windows, cut and delivered boughs and bark, artistically wrapped and arranged, the BBIA volunteers have provided traditional Winter decorations second to none.  In the summer the BBIA volunteers spend endless hours ensuring that the plant/flower selection is perfect and over the years more and more compliments about the appearance of the Town have been received.  Each and every Board support their special purpose and whether it is the dedication and commitment to keep the arena functional to ensure long term recreational services for all ages, the Library to ensure lifelong learning opportunities for everyone or support for the business community to ensure the community has a continuation of needed services, the Town extends a special thank you to the volunteers. 


10.  Welcome:

The Town encourages all members of the public to direct their questions and concerns to the Town of Bancroft.  We would be pleased to hear from you and happy to clarify any matters of community interest.


[1] The Cost of Living in Our Small Town” Bancroft This Week, 2008 article, written by Dan Schell, reporter

[2] Bancroft This Week, Without TROUT, Editorial, Nate Smelle, May 2, 2013

[3] Bancroft This Week, Without TROUT, Editorial, Nate Smelle, May 2, 2013

Opening Ceremony for the 51st Rockhound Gemboree


Greg Webb General Manager, Mayor Vivian Bloom Municipality of Hastings Highlands, Todd Smith MPP Prince Edward – Hastings, Town of Bancroft Deputy Mayor Wayne Wiggins, Daryl Kramp MP Prince Edward – Hastings, Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips, Hazel Lambe CAO Town of Bancroft




Wendy Melanson, Frank Melanson, Greg Webb, General Manager Bancroft District Chamber of Commerce, and Deputy Mayor Wayne Wiggins.



Relay for Life Kick Off 2014





Coffee Club - Thursday, April 10, 2014


What a great turn out!


Greg Webb, General Manager of the Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce along with a member of April’s Coffee Club sponsor, Hastings County Wellness Group, represented by Kasey Pollard Tourism Development Coordinator for Hastings County. Guests include: Mayor Bernice Jenkins, Deputy Mayor Wayne Wiggins, Acting Deputy Clerk/Economic Development Coordinator, Daniel McCoy, and Councillor John Kirby from the Town of Bancroft, and Councillor Frank Hickey from Hastings Highlands, Nicole Duncan owner of Spatopia, Tina Doucet, Branch Manager of the Kawartha Credit Union, and Mike McCaskie owner of McCaskie TV & Stereo.

Thank you for a valuable morning of networking.


Travelers Provincial Stick Championship - Sunday March 16, 2014


This evening, it was my privilege to take part in the Official Opening of the Travelers Provincial Stick Championship.


There are 8 teams competing.The competitors and their guests will be here until Wednesday March 19th. Some arrived yesterday. What a wonderful off season opportunity. 


The teams come from Navan, Quinte, Unionville, Humber(Toronto), Shelbourne, Guelph, Glanford and Simcoe.


How very exciting for our area. Congratulations to our local Curling Club for putting this together. One more time our volunteers have stepped up and made our lives more interesting. Well Done.


Spectators are welcome. Stop in and say hello if you have a minute.


C Bernice Jenkins, Mayor

Town of Bancroft

Millennium Park Picnic      2013-09-29


Welcome to all, both our local community and our guests today.

Thank you to the organizers for this opportunity to speak.

It is my pleasure and honour to bring greetings from the staff and council of the Town of Bancroft.

We love to see our park full of people who enjoy nature and wish to celebrate.

When we have folks from out of town I like to bring a little history to my remarks.

Bancroft celebrated our sesquicentennial year in 2011. We began as York River often referred to as “The Branch”. Pioneers came to our area because of forestry. Others followed to settle the land and raise their families by farming. Our soil is way too rocky for farming but many families lived here for generations doing just that.

In the early 50’s uranium was discovered in the Bancroft area. At one time we had seven working mines. This brought prosperity along with people from many countries. Quite a few spoke little or no English. What a wonderful opportunity for our people to learn about different ways of life.

The prospecting and mining became so much a part of our lives that a group of local folks started the Gem and Mineral Club that is still active today. Later on they created a mineral museum. More than that, the Bancroft Rockhound Gemboree dream became a fact in 1963. The Gemboree is the biggest Gem and Mineral Show in North America. This event occurs on the Civic long weekend each year and continues to grow. Bancroft is known as the Mineral Capital of the World. I invite you to attend the new Mineral Museum in our renewed Train Station on Station St. The Museum shares the Train Station with the Chamber of Commerce, so please take the opportunity to see what the area has to offer.

The Town of Bancroft sits in the middle of the northern part of Hastings County. We are the urban hub serving the surrounding municipalities. We enjoy a quieter way of life while having the convenience of most amenities.

A few years ago we were voted TVO’s Most Talented Town. We are very proud of that name and understand that it belongs to all of the municipalities who call Bancroft their town.

We are a Four Season Playground. Today much of our economy is based on Tourism. We have many unique shops and some excellent restaurants. Please take the opportunity to discover both.

We have Music in the Park through the summer and I’m looking forward to the music today.

Once I get started talking about Bancroft I find it hard to stop. There is so much more to tell. But I also want to talk about something else.

On the last weekend in September each year I join my husband at the Annual gathering of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regimental Association. The Regiment is celebrating 150 years this year. I am so humbled by these veterans that were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice in countries that take intolerance to a level beyond our comprehension. They do this to protect and preserve the freedoms, rights and privileges that we enjoy in Canada. Are we perfect? Of course not! But I believe we live in the best area of the best county in the best province in the best country in the world.  

I encourage you to enjoy your picnic and your time here. Rejoice in who you are. Celebrate with your friends and neighbours. Return home safely, feeling refreshed and joyful. And please, Come Back another time to enjoy all Bancroft has to offer.

Thank you.
Mayor Bernice Jenkins


Town of Bancroft

8 Hastings Heritage Way, P.O. Box 790
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Phone: (613) 332-3331
Fax: (613) 332-0384

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