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 August 31st, 2012
Lottery winners keep on working despite monetary windfall

“I don’t want to just sit there, get fat, and let my brain turn to mush.”

On a related note to our post yesterday about people working into their retirement, did you know that a good majority of $1-million plus lottery winners keep on working, whether that’s at their old job, a new job, or launching a new business?

As Yahoo News columnist Steve Mertl reports, the 50-something Ontario couple who won last weekend’s Lotto Max draw – $25 million! – don’t plan on retiring any time soon.

And the Toronto electrician who took home $50 million from the same lottery last May also continues to work. “I don’t want to just sit there, get fat, and let my brain turn to mush,” he told a news conference.

posted August 30th, 2012
Why Ontario retirees continue to work after retirement

In the welter of reports last week about how Canadian retirees plan on working into their retirement years, a key fact might have been missed more often than not. It’s not just about the money.

The reports were based on a July survey by Leger Marketing for CIBC that revealed that more than half of Canadians who are now in their 50s plan to keep on working after retiring. In Ontario, 55 percent of the respondents said they’d work post-retirement (and Ontario retirement age is pegged at roughly 63 by the survey).

The reports pointed out that nearly half of 50-somethings have less than $100,000 saved for retirement (in Ontario it’s 46 percent), and suggested that post-retirement employment income would make up the gap.

But the survey also noted that “only one-third (33 per cent) said they would work just for the money. Two-thirds (67 per cent) see working as a way to either stay socially active, or find work enjoyable and want to stay involved in the workforce in some capacity.”

If your retirement living plan includes staying active and working, here are some financial tips we covered a few months back.

Of course, moving to a small-town Ontario retirement community such as Meaford Haven is a great way to reduce your costs and your stress.

posted August 24th, 2012
Our Meaford retirement community is moving forward

If you’ve been reading the Meaford media lately, you’ve probably heard the latest news about Meaford Haven. Meaford Haven is another step closer to realizing the goal of an active retirement community for the three seasons of your retirement in this beautiful Ontario town.

Meaford Council has approved a resolution recommending to Grey County that the draft plan for the Meaford Haven subdivision be approved.

The Meaford Independent reports that Director of Planning & Building Services, Rob Armstrong told council that “the Meaford Haven proposal conforms to planning policies outlined by the province, as well as those of Grey County. Armstrong also said that issues raised by area residents have also been taken into account.”

Armstrong’s report to council explained that “there has been significant consultation with various individuals including the Conservation Authority, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Environmental Peer Review Consultant for the Municipality and County, and a committee of residents from the Ridge Creek Subdivision. This Consultation resulted in two significant changes to the plan that included maintaining the northern watercourse and relocating the internal road to the east and providing a second road linkage to Ridge Creek Drive.”

Once the County approves the plan for the subdivision, Meaford will then be able to approve a re-zoning request for the development.

Things are moving along for this unique Meaford retirement community, and we’ll keep you posted with more good news soon.

Here’s the Meaford Express report on the new development.

posted August 20th, 2012
Demand increasing for retirement homes and retirement communities

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation senior citizen housing report has revealed that retirement home vacancy rates are decreasing across Ontario. While areas of the province have seen something of a boom in new retirement homes recently, the Baby Boom generation has already begun to retire, and within the next five years will begin to reach peak retirement home age.

The demand for spaces in retirement communities and retirement homes will continue to increase, Ontario housing surveys manager Ken Sumnall told

He also notes that retirement residences are beginning to reflect the baby boomer lifestyle. “New retirees are looking for a higher standard of living,” he told the website. “Now, you are seeing more pools, theatres and media rooms. And it is not just a projector on a wall with some chairs. We’re seeing more homes with actual mini theatres.”

posted August 17th, 2012
Retired marathon swimmer still active in retirement

Talk about an active retiree. Nearly 60 years after Marilyn Bell’s historic swim across Lake Ontario, the 74-year-old still coaches the sport along with her regular exercise in the swimming pool.

An article in the Toronto Star yesterday profiles Marilyn Bell Di Lascio, who now lives in a retirement community in upstate New York, but finds every opportunity to enjoy the water, despite a degenerative back condition that makes it painful to swim.


Back in 1954, the then-16-year-old surprised everyone by coming from nowhere to be the first person to swim across the lake. An American was the odds-on favourite to set the record, with backing from the CNE, but Bell achieved the milestone. Both started around the same time, but Florence Chadwick dropped out partway across, and after a 21-hour swim, Bell climbed out of the water at Sunnyside Beach.

posted August 10th, 2012
Feedback on a business club for Meaford’s retirement community

“Retirement can come too early for many people who want and are able to remain active,” says the website for the 4,000 some-odd Probus clubs worldwide. The clubs are for men and women who’ve retired from their business or profession, and want to stay active in retirement and maintain a social network with other retired businesspeople.

When planning Meaford Haven, we realized that an active retirement doesn’t always mean pursuits such as boating or golfing or skiing or jogging or cycling or skydiving or gardening. Some people want to share the experience and expertise they’ve earned in their working life during their retirement.

A business club, we thought. Why not?

Well, the next step was to the put the idea to the people who are interested in living at Meaford Haven.

Our virtual focus group on a retiree’s business club at Meaford Haven tells us that in every 10 people, one or two have had enough of the working life, and do want to engage in new active pursuits during retirement. The rest generally think it’s a great idea.

A few of their comments:

“I think lots of small businesses/services would appreciate the advice and labour of retirees who might have experience in their field.”
“Not ready for the rocking chair – hope never!”
“Having a small job and being useful to people would be rewarding to me.”

Here’s the the complete report.

posted August 3rd, 2012
Neustadt Springs brewery continues a century old tradition

Today’s stop in our tour of local spirits takes us a little further afield, but we couldn’t leave off without sampling some of the delicious brews of this Grey County brewery.

Back in 1857, Henry Huether arrived in Neustadt, and while he loved the village, he immediately realized something was missing. A brewery. The springs at Neustadt provided clear, cold waters perfect for beermaking, and he hired a large team of German stonemasons to build a brewery over the springs. Within two years, the Crystal Springs Brewery was delivering barrels to taverns far and near, and it continued to do so for the next 57 years – except for a brief period when fire damaged the building, which was quickly remedied by thirsty farmers who brought in fieldstone to rebuild the brewery in exchange for beer.

By 1916, prohibition and a decline in the local population led the brewery to shut its doors, and Neustadt’s brewing days seemed over.

Nearly 75 years later, a couple from England with experience at breweries in Lancashire and North Wales visited Ontario and fell in love with it. Andrew and Val Stimpson moved here in 1995, with plans to open a pub, but Andrew couldn’t find a local beer that he liked. So he decided to brew his own, and settled on the abandoned brewery in Neustadt, where the springs still flowed through a network of caverns below, as the perfect location. After nearly a year of renovations, and 81 years after the original brewery closed up, Neustadt Springs Brewery released its first batch of beer. It sold out within five hours.

Neustadt Springs Brewery Andrew and Val Stimpson

Andrew and Val Stimpson in one of the vaulted stone cellars below Neustadt Springs Brewery.

In the years since, the brewery’s offerings have earned a host of Canadian and international awards, and you can find its biggest sellers (10W30 Brown Ale, Neustadt Lager, and Neustadt Scottish Pale Ale) at many LCBO outlets. But when you visit the brewery (and book ahead to take a tour), make sure you bring home its less well-known, seasonal brews: Big Dog Beaujolais Porter, Texas Tea Honey Stout, 456 Marzen Lager, Mill Gap Bitter or The Sour Kraut.