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 February 21st, 2013
Skiing, boarding and snowmobiling in Meaford – a video tour (part 2)

A tour of Massie Hills on cross country skis

Here’s a guided tour to the classic cross country ski trail network at a local favourite – just 20 minutes west and south of Meaford. If you find it too long, scan through and pause at the best parts.

Candid Canada’s look at Blue Mountain

Last time, you got a boarder’s eye view of the snowboardcross course at Blue Mountain. Here’s a report on the event by Ndrika Anyika, who’s new to alpine sports herself. It shows the race – and some more “down to earth” skiers.

Meaford snowmobiling

If you prefer your snow with horsepower attached, check out the snowmobile trails around Meaford in this video.

posted February 16th, 2013
A video guide to Meaford winter activities (Part 1)

Super-fast nordic skiing at Highlands Nordic

This skate skier, with a camera mounted to his head, is flying. Warning: you might get a bit dizzy. It’s a little like one of those racing video games where you have to dodge the slower-moving vehicles. In this case, he’s dodging around less speedy skiers… watch out! About 40 minutes from Meaford Haven

Dick in the ditch at Kolapore

This is not Dick’s finest hour, but while he struggles up from the snow, admire the scenery in this one tiny section of Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Ski Trails – which offer 50 kilometres of varied terrain. About 20 minutes from Meaford Haven.

Snowshoeing at Scenic Caves

Up on the heights of the Niagara Escarpment, the cross country trails are great, but so is the snowshoeing. This tour gives you a taste of what to expect, including a trip across the 420-foot suspension bridge with its vista of Collingwood and Georgian Bay. About 30 minutes from Meaford Haven

Jarryd Hughes at the Blue Mountain World Cup during training with Jonathan Cheever

Blue Mountain held the Snowboard World Cup a couple of weekends ago, just 20 minutes from Meaford Haven. If you never, ever plan on “snowboardcrossing” – in which up to half a dozen snowboarders race side-by-side down a challenging course with bumps and jumps and obstacles – here’s the next best thing. Pretend you’re Jerryd Hughes, and see the course through his eyes.

posted February 9th, 2013
Next steps for Meaford Haven’s unique Ontario retirement community

As we wrote here a couple of weeks ago, Meaford Haven has completed the initial stages of developing this unique Three Seasons small-town Ontario retirement community. With the Draft Plan of Subdivision in place and a zoning bylaw amendment recently passed, you might be wondering what you can look forward to in the coming months.

Simply put, these developments mean that the Municipality of Meaford and Grey County have given their approval for the Meaford Haven vision and all it entails: an aging-in-place retirement community that includes residences to accommodate each stage of your retirement (from bungalows to apartments to a retirement residence); gardens, a parkette and nature paths leading to the golf course next door; meandering, low-speed roads; commercial units offering health and every-day amenities; and a recreation centre/clubhouse.

The plan and amendment provide guidelines, including what type of building can go where, how natural spaces will be preserved, where roadways will go, how far a building should be from the road, and what conditions a builder needs to satisfy in order to get building plans approved.

Basically, the next steps are mapped out, and the Meaford Haven property is ready for a builder to take over the actual construction of the bungalows, apartments, and retirement residence.

Meaford Haven is now engaged in talking to builders – with an initial focus on finding a builder who will build the bungalows and low-rise condominium apartments, but is also looking for a builder for the retirement residence building.

Meaford Haven is moving to select a builder for this area within the next three months, and moving quickly, we’d look forward to having homes for sale by this summer, with the first few neighbours moving into Meaford Haven within the year.

If you haven’t yet registered to take receive updates on Meaford Haven or to take part in our virtual focus groups to help design the community, do it today.

posted February 2nd, 2013
Women’s Institute a thriving group in Meaford area

On a winter evening in 1897, a 38-year-old Hamilton, Ontario woman named Adelaide Hoodless gathered her skirts and rose to take the lectern at the Farmer’s Institute Ladies Night meeting in nearby Stoney Creek. An emissary of the Ministry of Education, she spoke on “Domestic Science” and the importance of proper hygiene at a time when many rural families lived not exceedingly differently from their pioneer forebears. She was passionate about the topic. Eight years earlier, her 14-month old son, John, died from what folks called “summer complaint” – probably from drinking unpasteurized milk in the days when refrigeration during the summer months was difficult. In the years since, she had worked to establish domestic science education and taught classes in it – in an effort to provide better education for new mothers.

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless

That February night in Stoney Creek, Adelaide suggested that rural women should form a group devoted to broadening knowledge of domestic science and agriculture – as well as to provide an outlet for socializing. A week later, she returned to discover 101 women in attendance. A week after that, Adelaide presided over the first formal meeting of the Women’s Institute as honourary president.

Today, Women’s Institutes have spread around the world, and are particularly prominent in Britain, where they emerged in 1915 to revitalize rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War.

What does this tale have to do with our lovely town of Meaford, Ontario? Well, Meaford had its own WI, begun in 1902 and since disbanded, but the local St. Vincent WI has thrived since 1918. Your blogger recalls reading minutes of WI meetings in the Meaford Express 20 years ago, and thinking it a quaint, rural tradition – which was later reinforced by the portrayal of the stodgy WI members in the 2003 film Calendar Girls.

It turns out there’s more to the Women’s Institute than that.

In addition to action and advocacy on a variety of social issues over the decades, WIs provide a unique link to our past.

This week, at a local meeting of Heritage Meaford, Meri-Diane Carroll introduced the group to the Tweedsmuir Community History Books (or Tweedsmuirs). These painstakingly recorded histories of local communities are kept in many communities, and usually include the history of the

  • Local Women’s Institute Branch
  • Earliest settlers in an area
  • Agricultural practices and individual farms
  • Industries that formed the basis of the local economy
  • Social institutions and public buildings, such as churches, schools and community centers
  • Local personalities, such as war veterans
  • And more!

Meaford and St. Vincent are fortunate to have this record, kept by the local WI in hand-written volumes over many years.

To learn more about the St. Vincent WI, contact Shirley Moore at 519.538.1671.