There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted April 29th, 2011
John Muir’s stay in Meaford’s “retired and romantic hollow”

A few days back, we mentioned that Meaford had an interesting link to the environmental movement.  Back in the autumn of 1864, the wanderings of 26 year-old John Muir led him along the road from Owen Sound to a magnificient view of Georgian Bay and the tiny village of Meaford nestled below.  (Now, theories vary on his actual route, but we’re going with Scott Cameron’s thesis that he hiked from Owen Sound.)

There, Muir met his younger brother Dan, and before long, the two presented themselves at Meaford’s Trout Hollow Mill and handle factory, seeking work and a place to stay for the winter.

Map of Meaford's Trout Hollow in Muir's time

Original map of Trout Hollow

John Muir would spend the next 16 months in Meaford at Trout Hollow.  Instead of leaving at the spring melt with his brother, he signed a contract to produce 12,000 rakes and 30,000 broom handles for the Trout family business.  While Muir’s passion for botany directed his wanders, he’d long had an inventive mind, and he now took a close look at the factory’s production process. Within a few months he’d so refined the process, designing new gizmos and automating tasks, that production doubled.

Like others in the years since who have discovered Meaford a perfect community to settle down in, Muir was captured by its beauty.  “We live in a retired and romantic hollow,” he wrote in May of 1865.  “Our tall, tall, forest trees are now alive and the mingled ocean of blossom and leaves waves and curls and rises in rounded swells farther and farther away…  Freshness and beauty are everywhere — flowers are born every hour — living sunlight is poured over all, and every thing and creature is glad — our world is indeed a beautiful one…”

John Muir's cabin at Trout Hollow

Sketch by John Muir of the cabin where he stayed at Trout Hollow in Meaford

A couple of groups have helped to ensure Muir’s Meaford legacy remains. The Canadian Friends of John Muir  have brought new light to his time in Meaford, and  the Bighead River Heritage Association has developed and maintained the Trout Hollow Trail, an 8 kilometer hike along both sides of the Bighead River and through the hollow where Muir lived and worked.

The buds are getting ready to burst, and we’ll head down there soon.

posted April 27th, 2011
Konrad Ejbich comes to Meaford’s Coffin Ridge Winery

We heard that Meaford’s Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery was having a special event this weekend.  Konrad Ejbich, CBC’s resident wine guru, will be at the Winery this Saturday to celebrate the release of the 2010 Sparkling Pear.   He’ll share his expertise on various food and wine pairings, and you’ll be able to ask him any wine related question you like.

If you’re scratching your head and muttering, “A winery in  Meaford?” this event might be just the thing you need to discover just what’s happening at this beautiful little location set into a slope overlooking rolling hills and Georgian Bay .  Using unique varieties of grapes that survive under winter’s deep blanket of snow and thrive in the long warm summers, Grey County’s first winery is making itself known both locally and in the international world of wine.

Most recently, Coffin Ridge won three medals at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, and you can sample these wines at the tasting bar.

Later on, we’ll take a visit to Coffin Ridge and do some sampling of our own.

Coffin Ridge Winery

The vineyard at Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery in Meaford

posted April 26th, 2011
Meaford’s friends of Memorial Park gets park and beach ready for summer

Heading west along southern Georgian Bay, after the sandy expanse of Wasaga Beach (the largest freshwater beach in the world), the opportunities to throw down a beach towel grow a little more scarce. Then you reach Meaford. Tucked away in a corner of town, you’ll find a true jewel: a narrow drive dips into a leafy forest, past the Memorial Park campground, and then to the hidden sandy stretch of Memorial Park Beach.

Despite its beauty, with vistas of the headland of Cape Rich and the shore curving around Nottasawaga Bay, white sails dipping among the waves, and the rustle of leaves in the lake breeze, you’ll notice a surprising detail. There’s space to lay out your towel. Unlike the more popular party beaches elsewhere, this relatively undiscovered beach is uncrowded and quiet. It’s also tidy, clean and friendly.

Residents recognize the Meaford-owned park as a true asset to the community, and over the years many grassroots groups have helped keep it that way – from the Kin Canada members who helped develop the campground to the Friends of Memorial Park. That group, along with the Meaford Independent, Meaford’s online newspaper, sponsored last weekend’s Earth Day Park Clean-Up. A group of volunteers pitched in to get things ready for the coming summer days, wrapping up their hard work with local organic apple cider donated by Willow Naturals, a new Meaford business.

(Last week marked another significant date in the history of environmentalism. The day before Earth Day was the birthday of John Muir, the famous father of environmentalism in North America. And believe it or not, Meaford held a special place in Muir’s heart. Stay tuned for more soon, and learn how to find the place Muir called a “retired and romantic hollow”. It’s closer than you think.)

posted April 15th, 2011
How do you like them apples?

In the past, Meaford has been known as “The Golden Town” (which might have suggested a retirement destination for active adults to some) and “Meaford By The Bay”. But recently the beautiful Municipality of Meaford had a new slogan bestowed upon it. In recognition of the apple orchards that have flourished here for more than a century (not to mention Meaford’s unique tourism booth – a giant, shiny apple on the main street), Meaford is now “The Other Big Apple”.

With that in mind, we thought the following might find a place on bumper stickers and t-shirts.


New bumper sticker for Meafordites?

posted April 13th, 2011
Harvest Moon Meaford Community Theatre

2011-03-24 to 2011-03-27
Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre

Harvest Moon Meaford Community Theatre March 24-26, 7:30pm March 27, 2pm$12/5 enjoy an entertaining and lighthearted glimpse into life in St. Vincent Township and Meaford 100 years ago.

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