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 December 31st, 2011
Pre-retirement new year’s resolutions

Here’s to 2012 being a super year for all. We’ve already given you some winter fitness ideas to add to your resolutions, but Canadian Living Magazine has some financial fitness tips, too. They suggest you resolve to eliminate some debt, continue to put your retirement money away, and other ideas.

Read the article here.

posted December 30th, 2011
Why retirement in a winter wonderland is good for you

winter scene

A lot of retirees seek out warmer climes for the winter months, and for some Meaford Haven residents, the sun may call come November. But others recognize that while Meaford summers are warm and sunny and full of activities on and around Southern Georgian Bay, and Meaford autumns indulge with fall colours and foods and beautiful views – winter can be just as fulfilling and active as the other seasons.

Staying fit and active during winter is as easy as stepping outside your door and stepping into a pair of snowshoes or cross country skis. Meaford Haven sits where the town ends and the country begins. And as we’ve mentioned often enough here, opportunities abound to ski, downhill ski, skate, snowshoe, curl or take to the snowmobile trails.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to incorporate snow shoveling into your fitness routine; that’ll already be taken care of. But living in a community with other active retirees, you’ll find it easy to meet up a gang to take part in all kinds of activities – maybe even a little street hockey. And the community clubhouse could be the perfect place to join friends for indoor fitness and healthy activities, such as yoga or Pilates.

Meaford’s Land Force Central Area Training Centre – or the “base” – offers the use of its fitness facilities – including a number of high-tech equipment rooms and gyms – to the Meaford community. It’s less than 10 minutes from Meaford Haven, and a single visit or a monthly pass is remarkably affordable.

Here’s another reason to get out of the house during the shorter days of winter. Living in a resort region, you’ll find lots of opportunities for part-time or seasonal employment to keep you busy (and bringing in some bonus income). Ski resorts, such as Blue Mountain, need lift operators and assistants as well as indoor staff during the ski season, and often retirees find this the perfect opportunity to stay active in the community.

posted December 24th, 2011
Twelve days of Meaford Christmas

Merry Christmas from Meaford Haven! We’re glad to see it looks like it’s going to be a white one after all.

In Meaford, winter is just another opportunity to enjoy the activities the area has to offer and to embrace the great outdoors.

Here are some ideas on what to do during your 12 days of Meaford Christmas.

1. Carve the hills. Despite Mother Nature’s stinginess with snow so far this year, the Village webcam at Blue Mountain is showing some action on a few runs. And with colder temps and snow in the forecast, there’s lots more to come. (Driving by last night, we saw the snowmaking going furiously.)

2. Enjoy a glass of Coffin Ridge wine by a roaring fire. This unique local winery has something for every palate and menu, and this winter, they’ll be grooming cross country ski trails around the vineyards.

3. Head down to the Meaford Curling Club on December 27 to watch or participate in the Family Bonspiel – a great opportunity to socialize with friends while sharing competition and exercise with all. More details

4. Rock out at Ted’s Jam Night. With everyone home for the holidays, the place will be rockin’ on Wednesday night, as a crew of new faces and regulars takes to the stage.

5. Head to Meaford Arena for $2 adult skating at 10:30 a.m. or free public skating (sponsored by the Apple Harvest Craft Show) at 1 p.m.

6. Stroll through the Village at Blue to enjoy the Christmas decorations and check out the shops. Let the kids join in the Scavenger Hunt, or go skating on the pond. Then cap it off by settling down to a great meal at one of many restaurants.

7. Kick off the New Year’s Eve festivities with a delicious three courses of Lobster and Crab Ravioli, Roasted Ontario Duck Breast, and Vanilla Panna Cotta. Celebrate New Year’s at Meaford Hall with a meal by Reed’s Catering, door prizes, friends, fun and festivities. Only $40, including a glass of champagne. More details.

8. On New Year’s Day, meet with the Mayor and your neighbours at the Mayor’s Levee from noon to 2 p.m. at Meaford Hall Galleries. Enjoy hors d’oeuvre’s and refreshments, and find out who has won the Passport Meaford Contest.

9. Fire up your snowmobile and take to the trails. Get in touch with the Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club or visit to find the best routes and events.

10. Break backcountry trail at Kolapore, or enjoy the groomed cross country ski trails at Scenic Caves or Massie Trails, all within half an hour of Meaford Haven.

11.Snowshoe out your back yard, or meander along the Bighead River on the Trout Hollow Trail.

12. Mull some locally produced cider or mix up a festive drink with Meredith’s Ginger Syrup. Whatever your favourite, you’ll find lots of local flavours to enhance your festive gathering or provide a warm finish to your active day.

posted December 17th, 2011
Husband and wife share love of art with new exhibit

Last weekend, Kerry Riley and David Johnston kicked off their show of painting and photography at Meaford Hall, Recent Works, with an opening reception in the galleries.

David and Kerry are long-time Meaford residents, who met at Ryerson University, where Kerry studied applied art and design and David taught interior design.

David has always painted. Since studying art and design at the Winchester School of Art and the Central School of Art in his native England, he has exhibited works in Toronto, Hamilton, and at local galleries.

Upon retiring from his professorship a couple of years ago, David took to his studio in the couple’s attached garage and indulged his passion for painting more than he’d been able to in recent years, often working into the wee hours. His output has been prodigious, as the new show reveals. David’s work combines stylized objective imagery superimposed on randomly controlled colour fields.

Kerry, a business owner and active community volunteer, who was part of the group that initiated the restoration and renovation of Meaford Hall, has continued to work in mixed media and drawing, designing a number of posters for community events and the emblematic scarecrow for Meaford’s Scarecrow Invasion. She has also refined a rare photographic eye, as this show reveals. Borrowing David’s digital SLR camera during the last year or so, she has caught unique glimpses of beauty hidden in landscapes and seemingly random still lifes. The images are printed as she’s captured them in the camera, with no post-processing or digital hocus pocus – just her clear, artistic vision.

You can catch the exhibit until January 7.

posted December 16th, 2011
Meaford Invisible Fence dealer takes on major role

Dog lovers already have a reason to have Meaford on the map – it’s the home of Beautiful Joe, the mangy, mistreated mutt who found fame and a place in the hearts of millions with the publication of Marshall Saunders’s book more than a century ago.

Now, Meaford has become the central Canadian hub of Invisible Fence, the international company that provides protection for pets with an electronic invisible boundary around your property and a programmed computer collar.

Ray and Linda Sugars have been involved with the company since 1994, and in 2001 they made it their full time business with their move to Meaford’s Irish Mountain. As the dealer for Grey, Bruce and Simcoe Counties, they quickly established a growing business, increasing sales recently by 400 percent.

At last night’s Chamber of Commerce After Five, they shared some happy news with Meaford businesspeople. Their success not only won them a top sales award with the company, but they’ve been named the head dealer for Central Canada – covering the bulk of the countries dog population.

A big bark of congratulations to Ray and Linda!

Meaford Chamber of Commerce President, Shirley Keaveney, introduces Linda Sugars (left) and Ray Sugars (right).

posted December 9th, 2011
Ski season begins next week at Blue Mountain

It’s time to get your skis tuned and ready to go – Blue Mountain opens next Thursday. While Meaford has had a few flurries, not a lot of snow has stayed around. That looks like it might change, with snow in the forecast over the next week, and overnight temperatures below zero.

Blue Mountain

Those colder night temps allow the resort to get into high snowmaking gear, which establishes a base on the hill before Mother Nature gets fully involved. In many years, the season can run from early December with great spring skiing through Easter.

Ontario’s largest ski resort features 34 trails, offering everything from easygoing beginners slopes to challenging double black diamonds and glade skiing. On top of that, three terrain parks and two super pipes let loose your inner “dude”.

Grand Georgian at Blue Mountain

Meaford Haven is less than 20 minutes from the slopes, and since you live so close, you can take advantage of some of the great deals on season’s pass. A 5×7 pass lets you ski days Monday through Friday (avoiding the weekend crowds), and seven nights a week. It’s remarkably economical at the early bird price; get out just four times during the season and you’re already ahead of the game. And with 14 lifts, including four high-speed express chairs, you can be up top within minutes of arriving, enjoying the skiing rather than spending time standing in line.

Three lodges offer warmth and refreshments whenever you’re ready, and simply ski down to the Village at Blue to discover more than a dozen restaurants, bars cafes and bistros to round out your day. There’s great shopping in the village too, along with regular activities, including musical events, bonfires and more. (And if you’ve still got energy, you can check out Plunge! Aquatic Centre or the Ridge Runner sled down the mountain!)

Village at Blue Mountain