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 April 5th, 2014
Books about the Bay – Georgian Bay tales

Our post last week about Hilary Scharper’s Perdita, a Georgian Bay gothic, reminded us of more literature of the lake.

The Orenda

By Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden’s most recent novel takes place in the period leading up to the Iroquois attacks on the Huron and French in 1649, and the Huron’s subsequent exile to Christian Island and, eventually, beyond. The winner of this year’s Canada Reads, The Orenda has been called “much more than a timely novel. It is a timeless one; born a classic,” by the National Post

Books of the Bay

Into the Blue

Family secrets and the search for a Great Lakes shipwreck
By Andrea Curtis

“It is difficult for anyone who hasn’t seen Georgian Bay in full flight to fully comprehend its fury, ” writes Andrea Curtis in this novelistic memoir. “It is a lake, but it can act with the power of an ocean.” On November 22, 1906, the 107-foot steamer J.H, Jones, loaded with cargo and passengers from Owen Sound bound for Lion’s Head, passed the Cape Croker lighthouse. She disappeared soon after, lost with all 26 souls aboard. Toronto writer Andrea Curtis is the great granddaughter of Jim Crawford, captain of the Jones. Her fascinating memoir blends an exploration of her family history with a stirring recreation of the life of Captain Crawford and the final hours of the fated voyage.

The Lighthouse Keeper: A Beckoning Death

By Luisa Buehler

Book Five in the Grace Marsden series by Luisa Buehler (A Love Is Murder Award Recipient for “Best Traditional/Cozy Amateur Sleuth”), this mystery takes place on Christian Island in the off-season. Grace and nine other people find themselves trapped on the island and the prime suspects in the mysterious death of an island elder. An ancient tragedy, island ghost sightings, and modern day treachery twist lives until more deaths and more danger make Grace unsure of whom she can trust. When the spirit of the lighthouse keeper beckons to her. Is it to warn her or harm her?

Ghosts of the Bay

A guide to the history of Georgian Bay
By Russell Floren, Andrea Gutsche, Heather Sangster

This book and its companion DVD documentary circumnavigate the Bay, delving beneath the waves in search of long lost ships, and darting into bays where the bones of abandoned boom towns and villages fade slowly into the forest.

The Frances Smith: Palace Steamer of the Upper Great Lakes, 1867-1896

By Scott Cameron

Scott Cameron was principal of Georgian Bay Secondary School in Meaford until he retired to explore Georgian Bay’s fascinating marine history. His first book brings to life the tale of this Owen Sound-built steamer – the largest vessel on the Bay at the time. It has been praised as “a narrative of the steamboat days in the nineteenth century, one which encompasses storm and shipwreck, violence and death, family antagonisms and business calamities and national events… a classic of Great Lakes writing.”

Georgian Bay – The Sixth Great Lake

By James Barry

Originally published in 1968, this enduring classic explores centuries of Georgian Bay history and its people.

Stay tuned for a famous Meaford mystery.

posted March 29th, 2014
Author of Georgian Bay gothic at Koffee House Reads in Meaford

In Perdita, the debut novel by Hilary Scharper, a mysterious woman claims to have grown up as the daughter of the lighthouse keeper at Cape Prius, on the Bruce Peninsula, more than 100 years ago. A contemporary writer seeks to uncover her true past, which means reading the diaries she claims are hers – rich accounts the Globe and Mail says contribute to “a finely wrought historical novel”.

Perdita by Hilary ScharperCape Prius is a less-than-thinly-disguised Cabot Head (see the map on the frontispiece), near Tobermory, where one of the finest examples of Bruce heritage lighthouses welcomes visitors. As part of Cabot Head’s heritage maintenance program, volunteers book stays as Assistant Lighthouse Keepers; a chance to experience days and nights in a genuine Georgian Bay lighthouse in return for a modest fee and a few light duties. For years, the program has helped attract volunteers and raise funds for the lighthouse. And now it has contributed to Canadian literature.

For years, Scharper has spent time as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper at Cabot Head, and the experience helped inspire Perdita.

She’ll be in Meaford to discuss the novel and how she approaches her work, during the Meaford Public Library’s Koffee House Reads. Meet the author on Thursday, April 17 at 2 p.m. in the Terrace Room at Meaford Hall. Tickets are $10, and include refreshments. Pick up yours at the Library, call 519.538.1060, ext. 1123, or email

posted March 22nd, 2014
Meaford celebrates its business and volunteer successes

Every year, the Meaford Chamber of Commerce celebrates accomplishments and efforts of the local business community with a series of Community Awards. The winners will be announced presented with their awards next Saturday at the annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Dinner & Presentation.

Nominations come from the general public, and a committee including representatives of the public and the Chamber of Commerce selects the winners. Meaford’s Rotary Club also presents its “Citizen of the Year Award” at the event.

And the nominees are…

Most Improved Business

Presented to an existing business that has significantly expanded its operation or an improvement of the premises making the community more attractive

The Meaford Independent
Believe Meditation Products
Many Hands


Presented for a commitment to local tourism through a welcoming attitude, awareness
and promotion of local attractions by a business.
Scarecrow Invasion
Meaford Golf and Country Club
Stuff To Read
Almond’s Farm Market
Christine’s Kitchen
Doug and Brenda Dawson
Golden Town Cruisers

Customer Service

Presented for consistent commitment to customer service by a business.

Eggcitement Bistro
McGinty’s Café
E & R Bulk Barn
Simply Unique Flowers and Gifts
Christine’s Kitchen
Knights’ of Meaford
The Shoe Tree
Purrsonally Yours
Bill’s ValuMart
Leeky Canoe
Rice’s Home Hardware
Captain’s Corner


Presented for investment in sustainable agriculture and success in developing
innovative products, processes and marketing channels.

Sunrise Organics
We Farm Grey Bruce

Special Merit

Presented for exceptional effort within our community by a volunteer organization or
service club.

The Coyote Club
Moe Ghani
Meaford Hospital Auxiliary
Meaford Legion Branch 32

Peter Francis Memorial Award

Presented for consistent, exemplary leadership and contribution to community
development by a volunteer.

David Glass
John Kerr
Rod MacAlpine
Lindy Iversen
Steve Nichols

Business Owner of the Year

Presented for an outstanding contribution to the Municipality of Meaford by a
business owner.

Tyler and Scott Knight, Knights’ Home Hardware
Bill MacDonald, Bill’s ValuMart

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre. Dinner by Christine Collins will feature Red Wine Braised Brisket of Beef with Caramelized Pearl Onions, Roasted Garlic and Fennel Mashed Potatoes, and Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Fresh Thyme. Dinner will be prepared by Christine Collins. Get your tickets at the Chamber Office in person or over the phone 519.538.1640

posted March 12th, 2014
Ontario baby boomers looking to downsize to enjoy retirement

By downsizing their homes, 50+ retirees in Ontario are looking to reduce year-round maintenance, lowering their cost of living, opening up opportunities to travel, and otherwise help finance their retirement.

That’s the word from a new market research survey conducted by Angus Reid, which found that 60 percent of those surveyed (Ontario homeowners 50 years old and up) plan to sell their existing homes and buy or rent smaller homes sometime during the next five years. The survey also suggests that most of these folks (53 percent) don’t want to live in a highrise apartment or condo block.

Right-sized bungalowAnd nearly 80 percent see this as their last big move – so they’re looking for a community that will continue to serve their needs for years to come. This suggests that a lot of Ontario people preparing for retirement are searching for a place that will offer an active lifestyle in a true neighourhood setting, with the opportunity to age in place and maintain their independence well into the future.

The online survey, which was commissioned by a Toronto retirement community developer, polled 508 randomly selected folks in the 50+ cohort who currently own their homes (88 percent of them own detached homes.)

The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to age, gender and region. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

posted March 7th, 2014
It’s not too late for a great skate

While some warmer weather has the maple sap flowing, there’s still time to get your ice time in at the Meaford & St. Vincent Community Centre.

For only $2, you can enjoy an hour or two of skating with friends and family. Adult skate days are held Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy a few spins around the ice with musical accompaniment.

Bring the kids along for free public skating on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Or get the gang together for Adult Shinny Hockey. $50 gets you 50 minutes of ice time, available Saturdays from 10:05 to 10:55 a.m. through March 22. Non-contact, self-regulated fun (with helmets mandatory).

posted February 26th, 2014
When is retirement a healthy choice?

Good news! (Though maybe it’s not news to those who have chosen to retire in the beautiful Southern Georgian Bay area.) Retirement might just be the health boost you’ve been looking for.

In an interview with Forbes Magazine, the author of a report in The Journal of Human Resources suggests that your potential increase in health and wellness after retirement is the result of having more time and inclination to devote to healthy behaviour and rewarding physical exercise.

Even in a study which came to a different conclusion, the authors found that folks who retired because they wanted to, remained physically active and continued to socialize stayed more stress-free and healthier.

posted February 22nd, 2014
Fun winter fitness programs at Meaford-St. Vincent Community Centre

If you’ve been hitting the slopes, heading out on the cross country trails, or donning snowshoes for a backcountry trek, you’ve been keeping fit and catching some of those rare and welcome rays this snowy winter. But staying in shape doesn’t have to mean bundling up for the great outdoors. Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre has a big slate of fitness programs to get your heart beating and your blood flowing this winter and spring.

Meaford fitness programs

Here’s a taste.

Tabatas is also known as the “four-minute miracle”. This high intensity interval workout torches calories and gives you better fitness gains in less than time than ordinary cardio.

If you like your fitness with a taste of fun, try line dancing. It’s 50 minutes of boot-stomping booty shaking to good ol’ country music.

Designed especially for the 50-plus crowd, Golden Jazz FunFit offers low-impact moves in a dance-based workout to improve strength, endurance and toning.

Separate Tap FunFit classes for kids and adults will have you tapping your way to better toning.

The Essential Low Back program offers a complete remedial and rebuilding program for your back. Gentle, effective and adaptable to your body size and condition.

If you’re wondering what exercise is best for you, try the Stay FitClass and get introduced to a wide range of fitness aids. You’ll do weights, fitness ball, circuits, body weight, partners, tabatas and more.

Target one of the most important areas of your body with Core Strength. Your core stabilizes your body during any type of movement and is essential support for your back.

Let’s Get Physical is a fun, musical workout that’s perfect for chronic conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis.

To learn more or to register, visit Meaford Parks and Recreation.

posted February 15th, 2014
Enjoy Meaford’s own artisanal sheep cheeses from WoolDrift Farm

When you’re in Meaford, make sure you stop by The Market and pick up some WoolDrift Farm sheep cheese. The artisanal pecorino, feta, and olive meadow is made with milk from Meaford’s local sheep dairy, Wooldrift Farm.

WoolDrift Pecorino

While the idea of milking sheep might raise eyebrows here, worldwide dairy sheep outnumber cows at least three to one.

In Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia, sheep dairying is a huge industry, with centuries of tradition behind it. Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean about the size of Vermont, produces most of the world’s Pecorino Romano cheese. (Pecora means sheep in Italian.)

Feta cheese is made primarily from sheep’s milk. (In fact, under European Union legislation, to bear the name “feta”, the cheese must be produced using traditional techniques in some areas of Greece, and be made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and [up to 30 percent] goat’s milk.)

Roquefort is a sheep’s milk cheese, as is Ricotta. Asiago was traditionally made from sheep’s milk, and can still be found in that form today. And today, many other artisanal cheeses are being made using sheep’s milk, including Brie. And then there’s Greek yogurt, traditionally made from sheep’s milk.

Now, a few North American producers are producing homegrown sheep dairy products, in no small part thanks to Axel Meister and Chris Buschbeck of WoolDrift Farm.

Axel and Chris met at university in Germany, where he studied human nutrition and economics and she studied agriculture. They moved to Canada after graduating and decided they’d like to farm sheep. “Because cows are way too big and kick harder,” says Axel with a laugh. “And we both liked sheep.”

Axel with sheep

While they initially raised their sheep for meat, the lack of sheep dairy products in North America caught their attention. “We thought we might as well start,” says Axel. Eventually, after a long, difficult process, they became the first to import purebred East Friesian sheep from Europe. East Friesian are recognized as the best dairy sheep worldwide.

How did they do it? They imported frozen embryos and implanted these in Canadian Rideau Arcott ewes to deliver them to term. These were Canada’s first “true” milk sheep, and the purebred East Friesians have since spawned generations of North American milking sheep.

WoolDrift milking parlour

In the nearly 20 years since their first batch of milk, WoolDrift has built a large clientele of processors who buy their milk, and has become a prime source of breeding stock. And then there’s WoolDrift’s own brand of cheeses, cream cheese, yogurt, labneh, “sheep milk bath”, a personal care product, as well as meat, including prepared meat pies and sausages.

WoolDrift welcomes visitors by chance, at their farm near Walter’s Falls.

WoolDrift Farm Meaford

posted February 6th, 2014
A Meaford postcard

One more historic home to add to our recent collection.

HC Knight postcard, Meaford 1907

Came into possession of this recently… a custom postcard dated from 1907 from H. C.(?) Knight. Have yet to research where Mr. Knight fits into the Knight dynasty in Meaford, but will follow up. His grand home, recently built at the time he sent the card, still stands at the corner of Berry and Cook Streets. The porch and balcony railing were as yet uncompleted when the earlier photo was taken.

In the recent shot from Google Streetview, you can see that the home, like many in historic Meaford, has been lovingly maintained.

HC Knight house today

Mr. Knight sent the postcard to Mr. Harry H. Bent in Belleisle, Nova Scotia.

posted January 31st, 2014
More historic homes of Meaford

86 Trowbridge Street at the turn of the century

86 Trowbridge Street West today (Google Streetview)

86 Trowbridge Street West

The house was built circa 1900 by either the Finleys or the Littles, but was owned for 50 years by Dr. Francis Louis Eberhart, who purchased it in 1920. In “How Firm A Foundation – Historic Houses of Grey County”, Ruth Cathcart writes that the house epitomized his status in town “It is a rambling, picturesque brick edifice of some character. Count the rooflines, the bays, the chimneys. Admire the cornice and winged brackets, the brickwork, the parade balcony above the curved porch… This is Ontario in all its rock-ribbed stability and prosperity.” (You can see the original square-cornered porch in the historical photo.)

The home was recently extensively renovated and restored.

27 Boucher Street West

27 Boucher Street West

(Note… if you’re from Meaford, you pronounce that “Bow-cher”.) This unique gambrel-roofed home was built in 1907 for Frank Kent – one of the two founders of the Seaman Kent Co. in Meaford. Seaman Kent built the hardwood flooring factory on Boucher Street East in Meaford, and sold their products under the brand name “Beaver Brand”. Fittingly, the house features brass doorknobs embossed with beavers. The main floor features a unique floor plan with three rooms surrounding a triangular hearth, open to each room.

To learn more about Meaford’s historical architecture, visit:
Heritage Meaford
Meaford Museum, which has walking tours available.
Building Stories

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