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 May 26th, 2011
Apple blossom time in Meaford

In the blink of an eye, it seems, Meaford’s apple (and cherry) trees are in blossom, and a stroll by one of our orchards can intoxicate you with the scent.

Apple Blossoms in Meaford

Apple Blossoms in Meaford

As early as 1837, settlers on Cape Rich, just northwest of Meaford, had planted McIntosh Red apple seedlings they’d brought with them. They’d planned to be able to harvest the apples from a few trees for themselves, maybe selling a few here and there. But their small orchard soon revealed that the region was perfect for apple growing, with the moderating influence of the Bay and the steep rise of the Niagara Escarpment cradling the microclimate. And it was the beginning of the Southern Georgian Bay apple growing industry.

Today, while industry pressures and new growing practices have brought changes to the traditional apple orchard, you can still pull into your favourite local orchard for such popular varieties as Northern Spy, Russet and McIntosh Red, as well as Empire, Gala, Honey Crisp and others.

(Here’s a list of some local orchards.)

Meaford’s connection to the apple industry is apparent in our tourism booth – a ripe red apple on the main street – and in the Municipality’s new slogan: “the other big apple”.

Meaford's Big Apple Tourism Booth

Meaford's Big Apple Tourism Booth (Courtesy The Meaford Independent - www.themeafordindependent.ca)

And in the last few years, a delightful byproduct of our local apples, Peeler Cider, has been growing (pun intended) in popularity. More on that soon.


posted May 25th, 2011
Meaford health care tops in this blogger’s books

Last week, your faithful Meaford Haven blogger was chopping some logs from an old cherry tree we had to take down (soon to be replaced!), when he foolishly attempted to finish a split by holding the maul up near the head and dropping it into the split log. Without gloves.

At first the cut looked minor, and the short, sharp pain wasn’t anything worse than an ordinary DIY mishap. But the pressure of dropping one’s knuckle onto a sharp piece of unrelenting cherry can do a pretty good number on you. I had a deep slice around the bottom of the middle knuckle on my right forefinger.

Being a guy, I tried to manfully deal with it with a Band-Aid or three, but I was having a little trouble getting them on. And the knuckle was getting a little worse to look at. So I called my wife for some assistance. Being not a guy, she immediately said, “We’re going to the hospital.” And so we did.

Here’s why I’m telling you this. Living in Meaford, you tend to take for granted many of the great things we have here… unimaginably beautiful views of Georgian Bay, the rugged Escarpment and rolling hills graced with apple orchards… a wide choice of outdoor recreation all year round… great culture, shopping, entertainment and dining nearby…

And healthcare. With a full-fledged health centre just 20 minutes away in Owen Sound, we’re also fortunate to have our own Meaford hospital right here in town. According to the Grey Bruce Health Services website, “Of all of GBHS’s rural hospitals, Meaford offers the widest range of specialty clinics and services to its community. Specialists from Owen Sound and other larger centres travel to Meaford to offer general surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, plastics and mental health services… The Meaford area has the highest percentage of seniors in Grey and Bruce. The 20-inpatient beds provide access to hospitalization when those seniors and other residents need them.” The site also notes that the hospital has the space and infrastructure to grow.

All of this might be a small part of why Meaford is becoming one of Ontario’s retirement destinations.

Within half an hour of my woodchopping woes, I’d been admitted into Meaford Hospital’s emergency ward and seen by a doctor and nurse. Another half hour later, I was stitched up (six of them!), splinted and heading back home (with a stop at Muxlow’s, Meaford’s pharmacy, for antibiotics). It hardly put a dent in my evening. (Well, I’d sooner not have had to deal with it, but all things considered…)

More info on Meaford Hospital.


posted May 24th, 2011
Magnolias in Meaford?

Nestled between Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment, Meaford enjoys a microclimate that’s perfect for growing apples. The water of the Bay changes temperature slowly as the seasons change. That moderates the air temperature, making it less likely we’ll have a late spring or early autumn frost. That same climate means magnolias can grow here, much farther north than you’d expect to find them in Ontario.

magnolias in meaford

magnolia2

magnolia3

We’re inviting a local gardener to share some observations on gardening in Meaford very soon.


posted May 19th, 2011
Victoria Day in Meaford – books, bbqs and bargains

The leaves are appearing, the weather’s getting warmer, and that all-Canadian harbinger of summer is here – Victoria Day. (It almost lands on May 24 this year.)

In Meaford, that means one thing…the Net Shed opens for the season tomorrow with the first weekend sale of used books. For a free-will donation, you can find as many used books as you can read while supporting Meaford’s Friends of the Library. And Saturday will see the annual sale of perennial plants at the Net Shed. The late 1800s heritage building is a relic of Meaford’s fishing heyday, when it was a net-making, repair and storage building, and the present owners have kept it an active part of the community by allowing the Friends of the Library to use it for their weekend fundraising book sales.

Weekend book sale at Meaford Net Shed

Weekend book sale at Meaford Net Shed (photo www.simcoe.com)

Now, lest you think a celebration of May 24 with a book sale means things are tooo quiet ’round here, you can also take in the Riverside Hall Annual Yard Sale and a fundraising barbecue for the ever popular Great Meaford Duck Race.


posted May 18th, 2011
Meaford attracting home buyers

On The Bay Spring 2011

The latest issue of On The Bay Magazine, Spring 2011, distills Meaford’s attractions to people looking for a great place to retire to in Southern Ontario.

“Buyers are migrating to Meaford because it is a small town with big city-like amenities including a hospital, a high school, two grocery stores, restaurants, a harbour and an excellent theatre (Meaford Hall) – all within 20 minutes of Blue Mountain and a little over two hours from Toronto.”

On The Bay touts Meaford

On The Bay touts Meaford to home buyers

And Rod McAlpine, of Meaford’s Royal LePage Locations North Realty is quoted as saying, “What we need right now are more new developments geared to retired people.”

Of course, that’s what Meaford Haven’s all about – and incidentally, the magazine also has a nice mention of our unique concept for retirement living in Meaford.


posted May 16th, 2011
Meaford Golf and Country Club hosts Fourth Annual Combat Golf Tournament

This is one golf tournament that will definitely be a blast.

Next Friday, May 27, the Meaford Golf and Country Club will host the Fourth Annual Combat Golf Tournament. That doesn’t mean you attack the next foursome with your 3-wood or a well-targeted Titleist. The event is a fundraiser for the Military Family Resource Centre, a Meaford organization which offers services to the families of our soldiers stationed at the Land Forces Central Area Training Centre. The golf tournament kicks off at 8 a.m., and it’s followed by a military reception at “the base”, with a variety of military activities on display during the afternoon and evening. Enjoy dinner, a silent and live auction, and enter a draw for a ” Combat Golf Adventure” weekend trip to Kingston Military Base. There, you’ll “living the military life” for three days and two nights – a life that includes a day of golf and use of carts at the Garrison Golf and Country Club.

Registration is limited to 36 teams and there are still a few spaces available. Call the Military Family Resource Centre at 519-538-1371 ext. 6509 for more information.

The Meaford Golf and Country Club lies immediately south of the Meaford Haven property, and offers a challenging 18 holes in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.


posted May 13th, 2011
Blue Mountains Chili Ribfest (and a bit about Clan Bravefahrt)

We just heard some delicious news. The ever popular Blue Mountains Chili Cookoff is no longer just about chili. Starting this year, it’s the Blue Mountains Chili Ribfest. As if we needed more reasons to attend! And it’s being held just down the road from Meaford at the Cedar Run Horse Park.

The Thornbury-Clarksburg Rotary Chili Cookoff began 27 years ago, and quickly grew into an annual favourite in the Southern Georgian Bay area, with a motley group of teams competing for awards in various styles of chili for both “professional” judges and the people’s choice. The winner of the Texas Chili (no filler!) competition wins the Ontario championship, which gains the team entry into the Texas Competition and some cash to help out.

For a few years, the Cookoff has been held in the Village at Blue Mountain, but the inaugural Blue Mountains Chili Ribfest will be held in the pastoral beauty of the new Cedar Run Horse Park, a state-of-the-art equestrian even facility on 250 acres of rolling countryside with stunning views of Georgian Bay.

Over the years, one of the Chili Cookoff’s favourite teams, with numerous wins for People’s Choice, Best Costume, and the ultimate – the Texas Chili Championship – was the infamous Clan Bravefahrt of Meaford.

Meaford's infamous Clan Bravefahrt

Meaford's infamous Clan Bravefahrt wins the Championship

Sadly, the Clan has faded away, but your faithful blogger was able to get his hands on the secret recipe for Bravefahrt chili from Angus Bravefahrt himself (aka Blair Smith). A few wee drams of Scotch was all it took to persuade him. Alas, I canna share it at this point, but perhaps down the road, Angus may allow it.

Angus Bravefahrt and lass

Angus Bravefahrt shows off his sporran to a wee lass

More info here.


posted May 11th, 2011
Gone fishing in Meaford

A stroll around town will tell you something’s up the last few weeks, even if you’re not of the piscatorial persuasion. The steelhead rainbow trout season kicked off at the end of April with the spring run, and the anglers have donned their waders and gear and are out in full force on Meaford’s Bighead River.

fishing on Meaford's Bighead River

A young couple casts for steelhead rainbow trout on Meaford's Bighead River this afternoon

(The Georgian Triangle Anglers’ Association 2011 Rainbow Trout Derby wrapped up on Saturday, and as we weren’t at the awards ceremony we’re still waiting for the results on their website!)

The Bighead is a major draw for fishermen (and women) in the know, but we’ll let Fly Fish Ontario fill you in.

“This river is probably best known for its run of steelhead rainbow trout in the fall and spring. It is also host to an excellent cold water fishery in its upper reaches…

“It is a small river. Really only the locals and seasoned veterans know the upper reaches due to its thrashingly thick bush and untouched banks. Private property conceals most of the river. Once permission is granted, access is golden as trout in the upper reaches are plentiful and fat. The lower reaches are well travelled by many fisherman in search of a wild silver trophy during the fall and spring…

“Many excellent runs offer great drifts for several kilometers along the river and the Rainbows, Browns and Salmon are plentiful when the run is on… Smallmouth Bass also inhabit the river, and a resident population of Browns and Brookies can be found in its upper reaches and tributaries”

Or to put it another way, “Man I am hooked on steelies!” That’s the verdict of “FishStalker”, writing on fliesandfins.com. Read his entertaining tale of a Bighead River fishing expedition (and forgive him for suggesting Meaford is in Northern Ontario – he is, after all, from south of the border).


posted May 10th, 2011
How to make the most of your retirement

If you’ve perused this website, you know that the Meaford Haven retirement community is based in the concept that your lifestyle choices have a major affect on how “well” you age. These include the obvious things, such as healthy eating and exercise, but a number of other lifestyle factors affect how you’ll enjoy your retirement years. The idea is drawn from the findings of a MacArthur Foundation study of Successful Aging. We’ve included some summary links elsewhere, but here are a couple quick quotes along with links to their sources.

Breaking Down the Myths of Aging. Successful Aging

Successful Aging brings together the remarkable results of the study for the first time. They explode the myths about aging that have long shaped individual and institutional attitudes toward growing older, including the biggest myth of all: “The key to aging well is choosing your parents wisely.” In fact, they discovered that lifestyle choices-more than genes-determine how well we age. Drs. Rowe and Kahn outline those vital choices, including changes in diet, types of exercise, mental stimulation, self-efficacy, and dynamic connections. These choices can make a difference no matter how late in life they are made. In addition, Drs. Rowe and Kahn include the latest research-based strategies to delay or prevent the common diseases of old age.

Successful Aging: Optimizing Life in the Second Half

Their recommendations are based on the MacArthur Foundation Study of Successful Aging. From that study, Rowe and Kahn suggest three actions that positively influence the aging process and enhance quality of life in later years:

  • Avoid Disease and Disability
  • Maintain High Cognitive and Physical Function
  • Stay Involved With Life and Living

posted May 5th, 2011
10 years of Irish Mountain Music in Meaford

Back in early 2001, Liz Scott decided she wanted an opportunity to hear some of her favourite folk and roots artists in an intimate setting – and she wanted to share her favourites with others. Sure, Owen Sound’s Summerfolk was an amazing experience, but what if she could get some of those same artists to perform at house concerts. Her husband, Rich Fletcher, a budding guitarist, was all for it. And they had the perfect space – a cathedral-ceilinged “bonus room” above the garage of their Irish Mountain home.

On April 14, Katherine Wheatley and Wendell Ferguson performed the first Irish Mountain Music house concert to a small group of appreciate friends and neighbours. Ten years – and some 70 performances – later, Irish Mountain Music is still going strong. In addition to the indoor concerts, the couple has also hosted some summer outdoor performances – on a stage set in their maple bush, and on their lawn, with the twinkling lights of Meaford far below – and the roster includes such artists as Dala, Luke Doucet, Valdy, Matt Anderson, David Francey, Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing, Garnet Rogers, Ian Tamblyn, and Anne Lindsay – to name a few.

Next Friday, May 13, you can catch John Wort Hannam and Maria Dunn. Visit www.irishmountainmusic.com for more info.

Anne Lindsay and Charles James at Irish Mountain

Anne Lindsay and Charles James entertain at Irish Mountain Music

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