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 29th, 2013
MIFF kicks off tonight!

MIFF, the Meaford International Film Festival, kicks off this evening, with “The Parade”, a “tragicomedy about Balkan war criminals and gay bashing”, followed by the opening night gala featuring food from Creative Choices Catering, coffee from Ashanti Coffee, beer from Kilannan Brewing Co., wine from Colio estate wines, and of course… popcorn!

Meaford International Film Festival

The festival runs through Sunday night. Visit the website for all the details.

posted August 24th, 2013
Microbrew fest comes to Meaford

Unfortunately, we learned about this one too late to join in, but thanks to a chat with a participant, we can tell you a bit about it.

Bighead Harvest Craft Beer Shindig

Earlier today, the Bighead Harvest Craft Beer Shindig celebrated the local hop harvest at Bighead Hops with locally grown food, music and, of course, beer. Three craft breweries from the area (and one from that city to the south) featured their wares at the shindig:

Kilannan Brewing Co. – an actual “Meaford” brewery, based just this side of the municipal line at Rockford. Read our feature article from last Christmas.

Maclean’s Ales, from Southwest Grey County.

Collingwood’s Northwinds Brewery, the newest kid on the block, which will launch its first brew, Corduroy Rye IPA, next month.

And Junction Craft Brewing, from Toronto, brewers of Conductor’s Craft Ale.

Meaford’s organic Bighead Hops, owned by Nicholas and Monique Schaut, are enjoying a growing reputation among craft brewers, and have even lent their name to Northwind’s Bighead SMaSH, coming soon. The shindig, held among the 20-foot hop plants, was also a chance to show off Nicholas’s new harvesting equipment.

If it happens again next year, we will make sure not to miss it!

posted August 17th, 2013
A place for dog owners to meet and let their pets run free in Meaford

While dog owners at Meaford Haven can enjoy strolls along the retirement community’s wilderness trails, they now have an opportunity to unclip the leash and let their “best friend” roam free. Meaford’s leash-free dog park will allow pet owners to let their dogs roam and mingle with other dogs in a fenced, grassy area with handy water taps. The new park is located near Memorial Park, next to the municipal waste water treatment plant on Aiken Street.

Large dogs and small dogs get their own separate areas, and owners have convenient parking, baggies and trash cans.

The Beautiful Joe Heritage Society, a group devoted to preserving and promoting Beautiful Joe and its author, Margaret Marshall Saunders, and making Meaford a tourism and heritage destination, is raising half of the cost of the park.

Next Friday, the “In the Ruff” golf tournament offers one opportunity to pitch in with fundraising.

posted August 10th, 2013
Apple FM could be coming to Meaford

On September 12, we’ll learn whether Meaford has its own radio station. A Toronto communications company has applied to the CRTC to launch easy listening Apple FM at 99.3 FM.

For small-town residents, Meaford folks have a lot of options when it comes to local radio, including Owen Sound’s Bayshore Broadcasting (owned by a proud Meaford resident), which operates two FM stations and one AM station in Owen Sound (along with stations in other regional communities). But Evanov Radio Group suggests the new station would be very Meaford-centric, reports The Meaford Independent. “[It will] deliver bundles of local spoken word content specifically focusing on events and news that is relevant to residents of Meaford including community updates, recreation reports, traffic, sports, weather, news coverage and everything one may need to take advantage of the area’s massive apple harvest,” Carmela Laurignano, VP and Radio Group Manager for Evanov, told TMI. (That apple harvest reference has us scratching our heads a bit.) 50 percent of the news coverage will be local, according to the CRTC application.

Evanov Radio Group’s radio outlets include stations in Brantford, Hawkesbury, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Halifax.

So, stay “tuned” to hear the news.

posted August 1st, 2013
Tour the ghost farms of Cape Rich with Tank Range Tours by the Meaford Museum

During the summer of 1942, homeowners in the hamlet of Cape Rich and farmers in the surrounding countryside received news that would shatter their lives. It came in the form of offers for their properties from the Crown, followed quickly by an expropriation plan filed at the North Grey Registry Office. Settle or lose the homes you and your families had established and lived in for more than half a century, was the message.

As Hitler’s tanks rumbled across Europe, the Allies were scrambling to match his iron brigades. The push required suitable testing and training grounds, and the eyes of the military had fallen on the northern reaches of St. Vincent and Sydenham Townships, northwest of Meaford.

Within a month, many of these families had packed their belongings into trucks and carts, driving and transporting their livestock, and left their homes to become billets for soldiers. By the end of September, some hundred families had left their farms and homes behind. On many farms, crops swayed, unharvested, in the fields. Apples ripened unseen.

Nine tanks in orchard in Tank Range

Nine tanks lie in wait in an abandoned orchard on Meaford’s Tank Range. Photo from Grey Roots.

While many felt they’d be able to return when the war was over, they were soon disabused of this notion. Unexploded munitions, the value of the now-Crown land, and the potential for a long-term training facility, meant the government had no interest in giving back the land. Farmers returned to harvest their apples, at times specified by the military, in the autumn of 1942 and for the following two years. But when two teenagers were killed by a live mortar in 1945, the Meaford Tank Range closed to civilians. Vines and trees advanced on the ruins of farms and homes.

In the years since, the Tank Range has had times quiet and busy. In the last two decades, the Land Forces Central Area Training Centre, as it’s now known, has expanded. It now handles all of Ontario’s regular and reserve staff training during the summer, and it’s one of Canada’s largest military training centres, employing up to 300 military and civilian staff.

While civilians are barred from much of the 17,000 acres, restricted to the roads and base proper, every once in awhile tours allow you to glimpse the history of these ghost farms and homes.

This long weekend, the Meaford Museum offers three tours of the Range, with an opportunity to see historic sites, hear tales of the past, and see rare views of breathtaking scenery. Tickets are $12 each, or $20 for two. Seats are limited, so call ahead to reserve for one of the tours.

Saturday August 3, 2013 : 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Sunday August 4, 2013 : 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Sunday August 4, 2013 : 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Contact: Pamela Woolner, 519-538-5974

Read more about the history of the Tank Range here, and learn about the ghost of “Blue Eyes”.