The top stories of 2020 at

WELLINGTON COUNTY – While the COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating local, national and international news since it began in March, other major news stories have also influenced the local news cycle, such the Black Lives Matter movement, longtime organization closures and celebrity sightings.

The following is a summary of the articles that received the most page views on the Advertiser’s website over the past 12 months.

1. Wellington County has first confirmed case of COVID-19

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced the first case of COVID-19 in the region on March 22. A 66-year-old man tested positive and was recovering at the Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest.

2. Public health orders closure of Old Order Mennonite churches, schools

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health ordered the closure of schools and churches in Old Order Mennonite communities in Wellington County on Nov. 12. The three Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act were issued after there was a spike in cases in Wellington County largely attributed to the Old Order Mennonite community.

3. Six Community Living centres in Guelph, Wellington closing

In October, Community Living Guelph Wellington announced that it was closing its centres in Harriston, Mount Forest, Fergus, Erin and two centres in Guelph as it transitioned to a “person-centred” approach to supporting people with developmental disabilities. Staff and families were worried it would mean less support and would not lead to better, independent lives for those using the centre and day programs it once offered.

4. Justin Bieber hits the ice in Harriston

On Dec. 27, 2019 Justin Bieber joined members of the Harriston Crossroads Life Church for one of their regular shinny sessions in Harrison.

5. ‘It’s a horrible disease, it’s a real thing – and you don’t want it’

On April 9, Pat Nolan spoke about her husband, Larry Nolan’s death from complications due to COVID-19 at Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest. Pat took Larry, 74, to the hospital on March 28. A few days later he tested positive for COVID-19. Larry passed away on April 5, becoming the first person from Wellington County to die of the virus.

6.  Health officials declare COVID-19 outbreak at Guelph General Hospital

Health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak in ward 4E of the Guelph General Hospital on March 26. Four healthcare workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

7.  Public health confirms COVID-19 case at Royal Terrace in Palmerston

Public health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Royal Terrace in Palmerston on April 22. One resident tested positive for COVID-19. An outbreak is defined by public health as one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a long-term care home, retirement home or hospital.

8. OPINION: Being black in Wellington County means regularly confronting racism

In June, former Centre Wellington resident Kyra Nankivell wrote an opinion column about the racism she experienced in Wellington County. Now studying civil engineering at the University of Toronto, she wanted to share her experiences “because I’ve been told that it helps people recognize their ignorance and try to understand.”

9.  Ontario allowing school board employees to be redeployed

On May 9, Premier Doug Ford and education minister Stephen Lecce announced a new emergency order that would allow school board employees to work in hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and women’s shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lecce said many unions representing school board workers were on board, but because it wasn’t in the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, an emergency order was required.

10. Fergus man charged after OPP cruisers rammed, officer injured

On Jan. 6 a Fergus man was arrested and charged in connection to a series of crimes and an attempt to flee police that injured one OPP officer and damaged three police vehicles.


COVID-19: Wellington County has first confirmed case of COVID-19, March 22.

News: Six Community Living centres in Guelph, Wellington closing, Oct. 28.

Opinion: Being black in Wellington County means regularly confronting racism, June 10.


Among the top Facebook posts was this one from our publisher Dave Adsett, on May 29. It’s a message that still holds true.

“We are grateful to our advertisers for their continued support of our publication.

“As some businesses begin to open their doors, we know that things will be very different for their staff and their customers, with every business facing new challenges. Safety remains the top priority.

“We are sharing a message that was shared with us as a reminder for patience and support right now.”