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 November 30th, 2011
Prospective Meaford Haven owners share opinions on perfect retirement community

To make sure Meaford Haven delivers on our goal of a Three-Seasons Retirement Community that truly caters to the active 50-plus folks who’ll be moving here, we went straight to the source for opinions and ideas – those same folks. Our virtual focus group results are coming in, and here’s an idea of what they had to say.

To begin with, the Three-Seasons Community idea seems to have struck a chord. The retirement residence concept got strong support from both the folks who are nearing the age it will cater to – and the younger group of active retirees. Everyone was in favour of having a medical/commercial building on-site. A community centre/clubhouse also got high marks. And the mix of attached garden bungalow homes and three-story condo apartments was popular across the age groups.

A low-speed drive with limited access to discourage traffic is one of the key elements of Meaford Haven’s pedestrian-friendly approach, and a good two thirds of the respondents heartily agree. Most are also eager to see strolling paths winding through the community (with benches here and there to sit and enjoy the view) and buildings clustered in groups (with ample open space and nature on the property).

Speaking of nature, prospective residents placed a great importance on maintaining woodlands and preserving rare species – such as the butternut trees that grace the area. Maintaining and rehabilitating a stream through the woodland also found unanimous support. And where we do plant and rehabilitate, the vote is for “naturalscaping”, with no invasive species allowed.

To get complete details on the results to the community design focus group, click

posted November 29th, 2011
Get the perfect gift at Unique Boutique

Unique Boutique 1

Last week, we got a chance to browse some interesting gift ideas (and nosh on some delicious snacks) as the Meaford and District Chamber of Commerce held an After Five in conjunction with the opening of the Unique Boutique. This, well, unique fundraiser for the Meaford Hall Arts and Culture Foundation gives you the chance to snag a truly unique gift for that special someone – or to treat yourself – with more than 125 items on auction, including an exhilarating flight over the southern Georgian Bay region in an antique biplane, a private ski lesson, gift certificates to high end local restaurants, nine holes of golf at Meaford Golf Club and a “Winter Romance” gift package

Here’s how it works. Drop into Meaford Hall any day between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to take in the beautifully decorated galleries and discover what’s on auction. Place your silent bid for the items that catch your eye, and then attend the jazz performance by Juno-nominated vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow on Saturday, December 3. At the intermission, it’s time to check out the bids and make sure you get that must-have item.

To get you started, have a look at the items here. But with many of the items on view in the galleries, you’ll want to head down to Meaford Hall this week to get a close-up view and get your bids in. To get your tickets for the concert, call Meaford Hall at 519-538-0463 or visit the website.

Unique Boutique 2

Unique Boutique3

Unique Boutique 4

posted November 22nd, 2011
Meaford Christmas window unveiling lights up Meaford

Well, the snow melted away before Saturday evening, but Meaford’s downtown sparkled with seasonal cheer as the merchants removed the paper hiding their window displays and welcomed all to view their displays, visit their stores, and enjoy some Christmas treats.

(The blogger arrived a little after the initial rush of Santa’s arrival, and the streets had quieted a little, as kids and families gathered round him.)

Meaford window unveiling train

Meaford window unveiling 2

Meaford window unveiling 3

Meaford window unveiling 4

Meaford window unveiling 5

posted November 18th, 2011
Curling season underway at Meaford Curling Club

The Opening Bonspiel has been running all week, and this evening will see the finals of this event. (In fact, this is the third bonspiel in the last couple of weeks – the Meaford Curling Club is an active one.)

Meaford Curling Club Dave Pelling

Meaford’s Curling Club is almost as old as Meaford itself. Begun in 1876, it’s now in its 135th year. Today, it’s based in a modern facility on Collingwood Street featuring state-of-the-art rinks, and a great group of folks who compete and socialize in equal measure.

As the club points out, curling is a great way to make new friends; it’s as gentle or as strenuous a workout as you want to make it; it’s stimulating both mentally and physically, and social and competitive events make it more than mere exercise.

Meaford Curling Club in action

Meaford Curling Club skip in action

In addition to the ice, the club features a 1,500 square-foot lounge, bar and kitchen facilities, and a lower-level meeting room.

Meaford Curling Club lounge

New members are welcome; visit their website

Meaford Curling Club sweeping

posted November 17th, 2011
Live music returns to the Wharf at Peggy’s Landing

This just in… “Bored of Education” is re-introducing live music to this favourite Meaford pub. Be there tomorrow night, Friday, November 18 to see this “class”ic band in action at the Wharf at Peggy’s Landing.

You won’t be disappointed.

posted November 17th, 2011
Let it snow! Meaford window unveiling this Saturday

It’s a winter wonderland out there. The first snow of the season is falling gently on Meaford. Now, according to the forecast, it probably won’t still be here tomorrow, but we can hope for a little of the white stuff to garland Meaford’s downtown window unveiling this weekend.

Meaford will close off three blocks of downtown on Saturday for a pre-Christmas street party, and the shops along Sykes Street will pull off the paper that’s been hiding their holiday displays. The large tree in front of Meaford Hall will be lit, and the townsfolk will gather to visit the shops, enjoy mulled cider and other treats, warm by crackling fires, and enjoy the music of street choirs. And the kids will wait with bated breath as Santa arrives by fire truck to take his place and hear their Christmas wishes.

Cook and Trowbridge Streets in snow

Pentecostal Church in snow

Meaford first snow

Cleland Clarke house in winter

Muskoka chairs in snow

posted November 9th, 2011
Roosters Diner a new take on an old favourite

One of Meaford’s freshest faces on the food scene is Roosters Diner, which offers good old fashioned fare – such as home cut fries, burgers, whistle dogs, fish and chips, and all-day breakfasts, as well as a number of healthy choices in sandwiches, chicken dishes and more. Currently, it’s operating as a takeaway restaurant, but Maria will soon be expanding Roosters into a full sit-down diner.

Maria has travelled a long route to bring Roosters Diner to Meaford. For nearly three decades, she and her husband, John, were the Northern Ontario area franchisees for Dixie Lee Food Systems. After stints in Barrie, Parry Sound and North Bay, the couple moved to Orphir, about 45 minutes east of Sault Ste. Marie, with plans to open up the far north for Dixie Lee.

John passed away three years ago, and Maria continued as the area franchisee until recently, when Dixie Lee re-acquired her interest. In the meantime, she’d taken over the lease and operation of the Meaford Dixie Lee when the franchisees decided to get out of the business a couple of years back.

While this was in part due to her business philosophy, she thinks there was something else involved. “It was probably because I’m somehow feeling – beyond the legal, business part – connected to Meaford,” says Maria. And when she ended her relationship with Dixie Lee, she realized she had an opportunity to do something new with the Meaford location. “As I was head leasee on this location, I chose to think about what one could do,” says Maria. “I looked at my agreement with Dixie Lee, and realized I could launch a different concept – as long as it wasn’t competitive. I immediately approached our landlord, and began to make plans to expand next door.”

Since opening, Maria has found Meaford’s response to be very positive, and she’s enjoying the experience. “Being a hands-on owner is cool,” she says. “I love the community; Meaford is a beautiful community with very nice people. You live in one of the nicer parts of Ontario, I dare say. So it’s a pleasure being here and doing business here.”

Right now, she’s on the road a lot, travelling between Orphir and Meaford, and she may seek a local manager or owner to take over the business – or might even consider a move south.

“Our sales indicate people are definitely going out to eat as long as the food’s good, the service is good, and the price is reasonable,” she says. “It’s fun to see your store busy and have a customer tell you they had a great meal.”

Roosters Diner offers a reward program, which gives you great deals on special occasions in your life. Drop in to the diner on Trowbridge Street across from the Post Office, or visit the website to find out more.

Roosters Diner

Maria Struik

posted November 5th, 2011
Meaford restaurants – a dining guide

We’ve been introducing a few of the local restaurants lately. So we thought we’d give a brief “taste”, heh heh, of dining opportunities in Meaford and the surrounding area. (* indicates a licensed premises)

The Leeky Canoe *
Wide variety of hearty meals at reasonable prices.

Ted’s Range Road Diner *
Traditional and exotic fare in unique surroundings.

Captain’s Corner Fish & Chips *
Specializing in, you guessed it!
108 Sykes Street North

Eggcitement Bistro
Homemade breakfasts and lunches using fresh ingredients.
16 Nelson Street West

Fisherman’s Wharf at Peggy’s Landing
Pub-style menu and beer on tap overlooking Meaford Harbour.
Trowbridge and Bayfield Streets

McGinty’s Café *
Great coffee, fresh baking and more.

Earth Harvest Café
Fair trade coffee, vegetarian dishes and 100-mile selection

Rooster’s Diner
Chicken, burgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, fresh-cut fries and more.

Meaford Diners’ Club *
Gourmet meals made from fresh local ingredients.

Fisherman’s Wharf at Peggy’s Landing*

There’s more:

  • Bogusia’s
  • The Kitchen
  • Meaford Motel
  • Dairy Queen
  • New Orlean’s Pizza
  • Deli Family Restaurant
  • Suzy’s Place
  • Peter’s Restaurant
  • Pizza Delight
  • Tim Hortons
  • Oriental Restaurant
  • McDonald’s
  • Subway

And more…

Meanwhile, the impressive Lora Bay Grill at Lora Bay Golf Club is just a few minutes down the road, offering casual and fine dining in a seasonally inspired menu. And within a short drive you’ll find more than enough dining opportunities to make choosing tough, with restaurants in Thornbury, the Village at Blue Mountain, and Owen Sound.

posted November 4th, 2011
Meaford’s Fisherman’s Wharf (at Peggy’s Landing) re-opens

We talked about Ted’s Range Road Diner the other day. Well, another Meaford institution is back in action. Back in the 80s, Roberta and John Avery opened the Fisherman’s Wharf – a restaurant, pub and motel at the Trowbridge bridge over the Bighead River. The “Wharf” quickly became a success, and when the Averys sold it, Gary Skrepnek ran the establishment for well over a decade. Gary sold the Wharf a few years back to Mick and Christine Mould, who’d recently arrived in Meaford from the Whitby area of Yorkshire, England with their sons, Thomas and Roderick. In the years since, the Wharf has seen a few changes. For awhile, the Moulds ran the restaurant, then they leased it out to a couple of entrepreneurs. After a brief stint as the Blue Bay, Dawn Nicholson renovated the premises and returned the old establishment to its original moniker, running the business successfully for a couple of years. But last spring, Dawn closed the business, and for the first summer since the blogger arrived in Meaford, there were no pints on the patio overlooking Meaford harbour. It seemed a Meaford tradition had come to a close.

Well, the Moulds have decided to bring the Wharf back to life, and the new “Fisherman’s Wharf at Peggy’s Landing” restaurant and pub has opened its doors once again. (The new addition to the name, Peggy’s Landing, refers to the name David Miller christened the promising new settlement when he first pulled up his boat near the Wharf in 1838 – after his wife, Peggy.)

Fisherman's Wharf Pub

Roderick is working in the kitchen, preparing meals in the Gastro Pub tradition – putting a gourmet twist on traditional pub fare and using local ingredients as much as possible, including suppliers such as Sun Rise Organics, Ashanti Coffee, and the Moulds own farm garden.

We enjoyed a beer there on the weekend, and Mick says he expects to have the draught taps running again very soon. And if the weather cooperates, we may yet have that pint on the patio and maintain a two-decade tradition.

Meaford Harbour from Fisherman's Wharf

posted November 1st, 2011
Inside Fran Bouwman’s Fairy Tree

We mentioned the “Fairy Tree” at Ted’s the other day. Fran Bouwman, the sculptor who created the work, has a great story about its genesis here.

It seems that rather than cut down a dying tree in the parking lot, Ted decided to have Fran turn it into something magical. But when she discovered that the tree was rotten inside, she thought she’d have to abandon the project. But Ted insisted, and Fran persisted. After much thought, an idea struck her. She decided to carve a trio of remarkable fairies to inhabit the heart of the old tree – fairies who captivated the young girl gazing at them.

Fairy Tree by Fran Bouwman

Now, Fran is an amazing sculptor, but she’s also a great singer and musician and has played many a night at various venues around town with different incarnations of her band, featuring Drew McIvor, Jay Stiles, Rich Fletcher and others.

One regular gig was the Fisherman’s Wharf, and speaking of the Wharf… we’ve got a bit of news on that next.