MOUNT FOREST – The entrance to Mount Forest has a new look thanks to the new sign at the south end of town, but not everyone in the community is on board.
Wellington North mayor Andy Lennox said the signs were installed early last week and made by local company MARCC Apparel.
“The change of the sign came about through a process that began with receipt of a provincial grant for downtown revitalization in 2018,” Lennox said.
This led to a committee of community stakeholders who felt the signs needed a refresh, including removing an iconic slogan.
“After considerable discussion the committee recommended the new design of the sign that did not include the ‘High Healthy Happy’,” Lennox said, adding that council approved this recommendation.
This slogan was replaced with ‘Simply Explore’ which is used in Wellington North tourism marketing.
Some residents aren’t in love with the new sign and are lamenting the original slogan’s absence.
Lynne Bennett created a petition which attracted almost 600 signatures before being closed.
Bennett wrote in the petition that many people travel through Mount Forest to get to Lake Huron cottage country and the old sign is something of a landmark.
“The town for many years boasted a sign as you enter ‘High Healthy and Happy!’” Bennett wrote in the petition. “One of the most notorious town signs in all of Ontario, (no, we’re not all high) it’s a smile on a long drive, a photo stop to share to friends, it’s a part of the town’s history.”
The high part of the old slogan refers to the city’s altitude, 430 metres above sea level, which is one of the highest towns in southern Ontario.
The new sign was recently vandalized with ‘High, Healthy and Happy’ spray painted overtop ‘Simply Explore.’
Lennox said he’s aware some members of the community prefer the old sign but called the vandalism unfortunate and “definitely not an acceptable way to express dissent.”
In an update, Bennett expressed outrage towards the vandalism and said it ruined the positive discussion the petition brought. As a result, she chose to close the petition.
“It’s sad that the act of one person can hurt so many,” Bennett wrote. “While I won’t allow the hate from one person to destroy the love that has been shown in the short period of just 24 hours, because of this act of hate, removing the petition is the right thing to do.”