Community, Commerce & Culture


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Spotlight on Business: State Farm Insurance

“Our mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.”

Anna Raeli

Statefarm Insurance


The People

Anna Raeli, insurance agent/owner of the King City branch of State Farm Insurance, started with the company in 1998. Upon graduation, the decision of what to do next had to be made. Having the interest to help people, being a team player and dedicated to a community spirit, and having two cousins already working for State Farm, going into the insurance industry seemed a logical choice. Looking back over the past 16 years, Anna knows that it was the right decision for her.

She was fortunate to have a good mentor in her early years at State Farm, and she had a strong willingness to learn. Having completed the required training and selection process, Anna was selected out of the 10 agent candidates applying for the King City location. She saw the potential, and opened in 2007. Within the industry, Anna holds the status of an Ambassador for Life Qualifier, a Consecutive Business Leaders Program Qualifier, a Consecutive Business Leaders Program Qualifier, a National Convention Qualifier, and has her Mutual Fund Licence. She is licensed to provide a full range of insurance and financial services products.

In October of 2014, Anna will celebrate 7 years in King, as an independent agent/owner with State Farm Insurance. Knowing that building relationships both with clients and the community was important, Anna spent time in the community getting to know people. She was co-founder of the King City Business and Community Association, of which she is now president. She was the 2009 recipient of the King Chamber of Commerce “Business of the Year Award”.

Anna hired a team of people with a common interest in commitment to their clients. Erinn Teeuwen, Office Representative, started with the business in March 2014, coming from the local paper SNAP. She is a ‘people person’, and is eager to expand qualifications beyond her general insurance licence. Marie Ferguson, Office Representative with her general licence and life insurance licence, celebrated 6 years working with Anna in March 2014. Originally from Schomberg, Marie was instrumental in helping to grow the client base.

The Product

Most clients are form the local community and neighbouring municipalities. Some clients are seeking a long-term working relationship. Others are very self-sufficient, doing the research before choosing what they need and finding an agent to provide the coverage. There are those who want the agent to handle everything, including the choice of a policy to fit their needs. Some prefer to deal on-line for a solution to their insurance needs. Reading the customers to know what they need and how they want to be served is important to good customer service. Providing a remarkable customer experience is important.

The State Farm corporation provides property and casualty, life and financial service products. The range is expansive, from loans, to education or retirement savings plans, to mutual funds, to estate planning. Everything is customized to the client’s needs.

Customer service is so important. Anna and her team celebrate the special things about people by building relationships, working on a first-name basis. Constant reinforcement helps the customer feel comfortable. There is the belief that insurance is there to help handle devastation, versus frustration.

They include the client in the claims process, so there are no surprises. A regular review of the policy checklist ensures that there are no gaps, as needs change through the different states of a person’s life.

The Performance

During the past 7 years, State Farm, the King City branch, under Anna’s leadership, has continued to grow along with the community, with a steady increase in the client base. There have been significant increases in the number of clients seeking commercial insurance. The residential growth in King City has generated a need for additional growth in the small business sector. These small business owners look to establish insurance coverage suitable to their needs. The scenario of using local services and products makes for a stronger economy and a more sustainable community.

A good relationship has been built with the King residential community, and with the neighbouring businesses. As President of the King City Business and Community Association, Anna has been able to be more involved in the community as a business leader, working with the Municipality and businesses in the village core. Initiatives in which she has been involved include improving King City’s curb appeal and promoting local parking improvements. Events like the King City Street Festival and Christmas in King have been instrumental in introducing new residents to the local businesses.

Logo_Nobleton Vet

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Spotlight on Business: Nobleton Vet Clinic

“We have too much fun to call it work!”

Dr. Helen Wicki-Nadler

Nobleton Vet Clinic

The People 

Dr. Helen Wicki-Nadler has been a veterinarian since 1987, after graduating from l’Université de Montréal. Before joining Dr. Gil Plummer’s practice in 1989 at the Nobleton Veterinary Clinic, which had initially opened in 1972, Dr. Wicki had practised veterinary medicine in the States. It was at this time she moved into the King area. Her family includes her husband, who daughters, and a variety of critters: an Irish wolfhound, a geriatric Labrador, a feisty little Frenchie, a white pet turkey, and seven hens. “If it’s broken, I take it home!” (Dr. Helen Wicki-Nadler) Having grown up with pets of every sort, it is a natural thing to do.

Dr. Wicki has a passion for unique destination travel and hiking, and she enjoys sharing travel adventures with others. She has a strong commitment to volunteerism: participating in the Meals-on-Wheels programme for Kleinburg, Bolton and King for over 11 years; giving time to a 12-year-old boy through the Big Brothers and Sisters of Peel; and offering her services to the Vaughan Animal Shelter and to the Veterinary Outreach programme.

The practice operates with a very qualified and dedicated team. Dr. Jayme Harvery-Micay graduated in 1999 from Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. She worked as a large and small animal veterinarian in Manitoba and then as an equine veterinarian in California. She moved to Ontario in 2005, joining the Nobleton Veterinary Clinic as the associate veterinarian. Jayme also has an equine practice focusing on dentistry.

Kevin Grew is the Office Manager and has been with the Clinic for the past 10 years. There are four registered Veterinary Technicians on staff at the clinic. Shari Biship is the recipient of an award for providing excellent care as an RVT. She has worked with Dr. Wicki for the past seven years, and also helps her in the Veterinary Outreach programme, providing care to animals through the Yonge Street Mission. Tania Savoia, a local resident, graduated in 1995 and has been with the clinic for the past six years. She has completed several continuing education courses in the field of small animal dentistry. Rebecca Dermott graduated from St. Lawrence College in 2009 and has been with the practice since then. Kelsey Weening is the most current addition to the team. She began working with the clinic through the high school co-op programme in 2009 and rejoined the staff after graduating from St. Lawrence College in May of 2013.

Clients vary in every way. Some are now second generation. It was a very smooth transition for those clients who originally brought their pets to Dr. Plumber to continue to see Dr. Wicki. Most new clients come through referral. The ‘patients’ number approximately 65% dogs and 35% cats. Statistically, cat owners are less likely to bring their cat to the vet unless there is a serious problem; as cats tend to be more reticent and suspicious when put into a vehicle.

The Product

The appointment book is computerized, which allows for optimum efficiency in scheduling appointments and in sending out reminders for annual check-ups. Appointments are made to accommodate the request of the clients, as much as possible.

Emergencies are accepted during regular hours, with emergency care also accessible with a phone call. A veterinarian and an RVT, who are trained in urgent care, are on duty 6 days a week. The emergency team consists of at least one veterinarian and several technicians working together to save a pet’s life.

In addition to medicine and surgery, Ultrasound, Dental Xray, Reproductive Services, OFA Certification, and Nutritional Counselling are offered. Mentoring and education about one’s pet are also available. Service and products are customized to suit both the pet and the pet owner. Referrals to specialists are provided when needed.

For more than 20 years, a Newmarket couple continue to bring their fostered retrievers to the Nobleton Veterinary Clinic because of the excellent care the dogs receive.

The Performance

Dr. Wicki’s dedication to her professional goals was clear when she took over the Nobleton Veterinary Clinic (2007) and bought the current location on Highway 27 in Nobleton. She learned a great deal as she went through the process to rezone from residential to commercial in order to comply with appropriate permitting to run her business, to take the necessary steps to allow for appropriate parking, and to ensure that renovations were done in compliance with existing permitted uses. Accessibility was designed with input from Bev Berger, a long-time Nobleton resident and spokesperson for accessibility. Throughout the transition process of moving the Nobleton Veterinary Clinic from King Road to the Highway 27 location, clients still received quality services without interruption.

The atmosphere of the clinic is comfortable and neighborly. Staff is knowledgeable, caring, competent and professional. There is great attention to detail, down to the gardening, which is managed by Helen’s mother.

Dr. Wicki supports the community in a number of ways: membership in the King Chamber of Commerce, the Nobleton Lions Guide Dog Walk on Victoria Day each year, and donations to the King Fire Department of oxygen masks for pets.

Data shows that pet owners live longer, have more active lives, and stay in their homes longer. The Nobleton Veterinary Clinic website was created, not only to provide information about the clinic, but also to educate the public about pet ownership and of the importance of pets to the well-being of their owners.


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Spotlight on Business: Pathways to Perennials

“My goal is for every landscape design to be customized to meet the needs of each family member and to grow with health and beauty. It is my philosophy that the finished project should maintain ecology and balance, two staples of our designs.”

Lorraine Mennen, Garden Great Rooms, 2006

Pathways to Perennials


The People

Lorraine and Armand Mennen are the owners and operators of Pathways to Perennials. Lorraine’s parents came from England, and her in-laws came from Holland. She and Armand both grew up in Aurora. The story in King begins in 1980 on a 10-acre property at the 8th concession and 16th sideroad. The countryside and availability of land were deciding factors in selecting a location for their home and business. In 1988, with two children, they had outgrown the house and moved to a larger home, but a smaller property in the small town of Ivy, Essa Township. It was during that period of two years in Ivy that the name Pathways to Perennials was chosen, as they realized that each design they had previously completed always had a path leading to somewhere. They moved back to the property in Pottageville, purchased in 1994. The business has been on the current 11½-acre property in Pottageville for 20 years. Their purpose is “bringing plants and people together, in a sustainable and ecological way.” (Lorraine Mennen). It is important to them that the client agrees with the concept of environmental responsibility.

Pathways to Perennials is truly a family business. Lorraine and Armand manage the business. Their son Nick, born in 1981, does the landscaping. Their daughter Angie, born in 1988, focusses on the retail aspect of the business and the marketing. Having worked in the business full-time for seven years, daughter-in-law, Lindsay, now has a supporting role, while raising two young children.

There are three additional full-time seasonal staff: Josh helps Nick with the landscaping; Lisa helps with the landscape design and the selection of the plants, and Rachel helps with the maintenance of the property, along with part-time students. John Cooper, a father of three from Cookstown, is the chef in the Blossom Café. He is passionate about food and preparing food to perfection.

People come to Pathways for assistance when faced with a landscaping challenge, like a new home garden or landscape renovation project.


The Product

Many clients have a design project implemented over a 2 to 5 year period. This frees up the customer’s time and budget, allowing the Pathways team to follow the growth of the plants, check for warranty concerns, and answer maintenance questions about the garden during the process. The landscapes can include perennial gardens, hard-scaping, carpentry and decks, and water features. The business currently operates with 75% landscape and design construction and 15% retail and café.

Examples of built structures, stone walls, patio lay-outs and landscape vignettes are at the design centre. Unique water features, structures and furnishings are incorporated into the display gardens for education and inspiration. Countless perennials, vines, small trees and shrubs have been planted to offer garden ideas to visitors to the property. Items in the gift shop complement the design and landscape functions.

The Blossom Café provides delectable food in an atmosphere ideal for mulling over the many landscape ideas available. Workshops, speaker series, and group events have also been added to the services provided.


The Performance

The family has a 100-year business plan, which includes the factors of quality of life for their family and for quality service to the customers. The decision to be designers and sellers, rather than growers, was made early in the process. Long-term planning was crucial, as it takes many years for perennials, shrebs, and trees to mature.

After taking possession of the current property in April of 1994, soil and seedlings were ordered and suppliers of quality products were researched. The soil arrived three days after moving. Lorraine began with the Kids’ Garden Club, and it evolved into the Kids’ Environmental Day Camp. She managed it herself for the first three years, but hired staff to help when numbers attending grew.

Trees were planted first, as they created privacy for the family home, as well as a retreat atmosphere, and provided a backdrop for the design function of the business. It took 15 years to create the desired ambience, and to manage the workload effectively and professionally. Landscaping the property continues to be a work in progress. Initially, Pathways was open seasonally part-time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; now it has its doors open full-time five days a week during the Spring, Summer and Fall.

The outside café, licensed under the LCBO, opened in 2009. In 2013 it expanded to include an indoor section, which evolved into the Blossom Café. The hidcote Hideaway Wedding Venue, named after Lorraine’s favourite variety of lavender, also opened in 2014. It is a private venue suitable for special outdoor day-time gathers, including wedding ceremonies and private parties. This year the 10th anniversary of the Mother’s Day event was celebrated with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, for which 120 reserved seating.

Pathways to Perennials is a dedicated participant in the local community, supporting the King Chamber of Commerce, participating in local events, and donating their expertise to projects like the water efficient garden on King Road in Nobleton. Pathways to Perennials participates in many home and garden shows and has received numerous awards over the years, including: the industry’s Outstanding Display of Hardgoods and Outstanding Display Gardens over 500 sq. ft. , Green Profit Magazine’s Young Retailer of the Year Award (Lindsay Mennen), Landscape Ontario Award of Excellence, and the King Chamber of Commerce Green Business Achievement Award.

For over 30 years, the family business has been providing quality landscale design products and service to its clients. The business has weathered many storms, both figuratively and literally. Through the unpredictability of weather, pests like the gyspsy moth, a changing political stage, and the ups and downs of the economy, the Mennen family and their dedicated staff have created a successful and sustainable business at the ‘grass roots’ level.

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Canadian National Waterski Championships Come to King Township

Spray Lake, one of King Township’s greatest kept secrets, has been selected to host the 2014 National Waterski Championships. Events will be taking place over the dates of August 14-17 at the beautiful lake on Keele Street.


Canadians definitely love to spend summer months outdoors and on the water. Spray Lake offers an outdoor oasis that is close to home for residents of York Region. Forget battling the Friday evening northbound traffic. Spend your weekend hitting the water right here at home, or, if you cant wait that long, drop in after work for a lesson. They offer training behind world class waterski boats and also have a state of the art wakeboard cable park. Beyond this, patrons have an opportunity to participate in a number of other activities – such as paddle boarding, beach volleyball, hiking, and more – making it easy to spend the whole afternoon.

This tournament will attract Canada’s top athletes who will compete in a series of events that are spread over the four days. Spectators are welcome, so we encourage everyone to go check out the action, free of charge. We are very proud to see an event such as this being held in the Township. It is also refreshing to see that Seneca College has been brought on as the official residence of the tournament for athletes and visitors. The key to small town tourism is to leverage partnerships such as these to stimulate economic activity from visitors.

The next two weeks will fly by as we anticipate the start of the tournament. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to spending the weekend on the lake and watching some world class waterskiing from out nations best.

 For more information visit  


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King Township Community Investment Profile

It is our pleasure to present to you King Township’s brand new Community Investment Profile.

Investment Profile

The development of this Community Investment Profile is a result of the Economic Development Strategy, which identified the absence of a profile for the Township. Goal 4: A Strong Innovative Rural Brand –Action item #31 of the Economic Development Strategy  is to prepare a detailed investment and community profile that illustrates the characteristics of the Township as it relates to key socio economic indicators, community sustainability initiatives, planned investment and key economic sectors (e.g. agriculture and agri-business, business and professional services, manufacturing and the creative cultural industries), also featuring profiles of innovative local businesses.

We are excited about the completion of this profile and hope that it provides valuable insight about commerce in King Township.

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Not Horsing Around: Economic Impact of the Equine Sector

The equine sector is ingrained in the identity of King Township; home of world renowned Olympic riders, state of the art riding facilities, and an undying passion for all things equine.  We know that the industry affects the daily lives of many King Residents, but here in economic development we want to understand the quantifiable impacts on the economy.

One of the main goals that King identified in joining the Headwaters Horse Country partnership was to develop a sound understanding of the equine sector’s economic impact on the Township and the surrounding area.  The Headwaters Equine Leadership Group has shed some light on this with the newly released 2014 HELG Economic Impact Report.

The report is a snapshot of the industry as it stands today and will be used as baseline data to compare future metrics to. It describes the indicators that impact the economic sustainability of a region that are directly related to the equine sector. Additional data points include primary use of horses, on-farm operating expenditures, on-farm operating cost and on-farm capital expenditures. This is an ongoing initiative so an updated report can be expected annually.

Some highlights from the report…

There are an estimated number of horses in King Township and the Hills of Headwaters region totaling 5074 and 23,228, respectively. There are approximately 273 horse farms in King Township alone that house these horses. By calculating the annual operating costs for a single horse in the area including and surround Headwaters Horse Country we can determine that roughly $20,559,848 is spent annually on-farm in King – this does not include capital expenditures.

As you can see, horses are more than just fun and games. The equine sector is a major economic pillar in Headwaters Horse Country and, more specifically, King Township.  To view the report in detail please follow the link below.

2014 HELG Economic Impact Report

2014 HELG Economic Impact Report

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Community Improvement Plan is Under Way!

On April 14th, 2014, Chris Tyrell and Bobby Gauthier of MMM Group made a presentation to Council providing an overview of the work that was to come on the King Township Community Improvement Plan.

The presentation was very well received by Council. All members praised the project and are eager to get the ball rolling. This is big news for the business community of King Township and a huge step forward.

To get the lowdown on the Project Team, goals, timeline, and implementation of the plan check out the presentation here (CIP April 14th Presentation to Council).

Please check the CIP page for all the information you need about the project. It will be updated regularly.