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 2nd, 2015
Children’s theatre group onstage in Meaford

Aladdin in MeafordThe kids are back in town! On Friday, Meaford Hall hosts the Kids in the Meaford Hall in their seventh annual play featuring school-age actors from local elementary and high schools. This year, they bring to life Alladin And The Wonderful Lamp, written by the late Chicago playwright Michele L. Vacca. You’ll join Aladdin on his adventures after discovering a magic lamp and befriending the genie who’s sleep he’s disrupted.

Back in 2009, Meaford businessman, politician and tireless volunteer decided to launch a theatre group to perform kids’ plays with kid actors. It took awhile. At first, adults had to be enlisted to play about half of the roles. But by last year, the production became a showcase for an all-youth cast, as kids who’d performed in earlier productions brought their experience and confidence to the group.

Every year, the ensemble performs a free show for about a thousand school kids from the local area – alternating a Christmas play with a dramatized folk tale from one year to the next.

There’s a show at 4 p.m and 7 p.m on Friday, December 4. Learn more at Meaford Hall.

posted September 18th, 2015
A history of Meaford Golf Course, Part II

Ivan Alderdice grew up on a large cash-crop farm in Meaford, but he was a born entrepreneur – always on the lookout for a new opportunity. “I always had about three different careers,” he says with a laugh. Over the years, he operated a long-haul trucking company, worked as a broker for McIntee Realty, and developed a successful subdivision in Meaford – all while he continued to run an 800-acre farm. When the Meaford Golf Course came up for sale in 1991, he was intrigued. “I was never a golfer, beyond charity tournaments and that kind of thing,” he says. “But the subdivision was finished and I was looking for a good investment.”

At the time, he was already maintaining his real estate and farming careers, but the agricultural side of course management appealed to him. “That was the easy part for me – hard for other people, but easy for me. I had a spray licence in agriculture way before they even brought them in to golf courses.” He and his wife, Mary, made an offer.

From the beginning, Ivan planned to expand the course from its original nine holes. Initially, he added an additional set of tee blocks for each hole with enough difference in position to begin to approximate an 18-hole course. Meanwhile, to accommodate the expansion, he’d bought two properties off Nelson Street at the same time he purchased the course. Eight years of careful planning and hard work clearing and transforming the rough property later, nine brand new holes were ready for play.

The 18-hole course opened in 2000, and the new nine holes became known as the Millenium. The older nine were now christened Randle for the original owners of the course.

Ivan’s proud of the work he’s done to transform the golf course, particularly the natural and agricultural enhancements. He added ponds to capture water, which previously flooded the lower holes in the spring, and to stop erosion and provide for irrigation. “You used to have to wear rubber boots to play the 7th fairway right till July,” says Ivan. “So when you’re out there cursing me for these big ponds, remember they’re not just a trap for your balls. They’re there to control the water in the spring.”

Meaford Golf Course aerial view

He’s also proud of the club’s scale. While modern golf trends toward longer and longer courses, he believes golfers are really looking for shorter, but still challenging, courses – the kind of play you’ll find at the Meaford Golf Course. “We’ve got to get rid of our ‘architect’s eagles’; we shouldn’t be building these 7,000 yard courses,” he says.

Even as the 8th hole on the Randle Run earned Grey-Bruce Golf’s recognition as one of the “toughest holes in Grey-Bruce” (with the Millenium #1 “a close second”), the course plays quickly, and golfers are welcome to play four or six hole configurations.

“It’s supposed to be fun,” says Ivan. “It’s called a game.”

Meaford Golf Course

posted March 27th, 2015
Enjoy a night out in Meaford

Meaford, Bruce Grey Simcoe, and the Ontario government have released an ad which takes you on a night on the town. Warm gatherings, great food and exciting culture warm up this beautiful, snowy winter’s night. The video was shot at George’s on Main and Meaford Hall and Culture Centre in downtown Meaford.

Posted by Georges on Main on Thursday, March 26, 2015

posted March 25th, 2015
Meaford’s green all year round

Meaford is clean, green and where you want to be. Meaford has topped Grey-Bruce in waste diversion, and ranks third in the province behind only Orillia and Guelph.

Read all about it.

posted March 18th, 2015
“Big News from Grand Rock” director, Daniel Perlmutter, special guest at Meaford screening

The Grand Rock Weekly Ledger, like all small-town newspapers, is facing online competition and tough times. But editor Leonard Crane has a plan. He starts making up juicy stories, using the plots of movies from the 80s and 90s as inspiration. Readership soars… but then one of his stories catches the attention of a reporter from the big city.

That’s the plot of “Big News from Grand Rock”, a comedy starring Ennis Esmer, from CTV’s “The Listener”, and featuring perennial favourite Gordon Pinsent.

“For his debut feature, writer-director Daniel Perlmutter keeps the proportions exactly right,” writes Ken Eisner of The Georgia Straight, “balancing a steady stream of small laughs with a story that engages, mainly through the hearty efforts of actors all on the same page—Page One, you could say.”

Big_newsThe movie, in which nearby Midland stands in for “Grand Rock”, is tomorrow’s Thursday Flick at Meaford Hall, and the audience is in for a special treat. Daniel Perlmutter will be a special guest at the screening, answering questions after the film.

Bruce Kirkland, of the Toronto Sun also gives the film a rave review. “I applaud Perlmutter and his producers… for so bravely conjuring up this quaint and slightly surreal saga about the threat to community newspapers,” he writes “And for making it so appealing, not just to newspaper junkies but to a wider audience because of the comedy and the romance in the story.”

Thursday, March 19 at 4pm. Tickets: $10 and available by phone, online and in person.

posted January 24th, 2015
Ice fishing in Meaford

When the ice thickens on the protected harbour at the mouth of the Bighead River in Meaford, fishermen and women venture off the harbour wall and out onto ice shacks. There, they drop a line for the Rainbows below.

icefishing2But even if the ice isn’t quite ready, or you just want to try it out without investing in gear and a hut, you can experience the fun of ice fishing just west of Meaford. U Catch’em Charters offers ice fishing on their stocked pond during the winter months. It’s almost luxurious. Settle down in a heated fishing hut to try for Rainbow, Speckled and Brown Trout between 12″ to 24″. On top of that, you don’t need a licence, and there’s no limit. Cost is $50 per person, equipment and hut included.

Location: 205572 Hwy.26 Call 519-538-5333 to reserve your time. Or visit U Catch’em’s website.

posted December 20th, 2014
Holiday reading from local writers

The Remnants by WP OsbornThe perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle of Christmas is the opportunity to nestle down by the fire with a good book (on paper or on your tablet). Here are three recent releases from local authors for your holiday reading list.

Meaford’s Paul Osborn’s debut novel, the Remnants, tells the tale of two lovers and their tumultuous experiences during the Great War and beyond, in a story that spans four continents and a dramatic emotional landscape.

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

The Remnants is currently available as an e-book through, Apple’s iBookstore,, Google Play and KOBO. A portion of the proceeds of ‘The Remnants’ will be donated to True Patriot Love Foundation– a charity in support of Canadian Military Families. A print edition of the book is planned for release sometime in the new year.

Another Manitoulin Island murder mystery from the pen of Meaford’s Jake Doherty has hit the shelves. Bearwalker Alibi, which noted mystery writer Barbara Fradkin calls “powerful and intelligent”, begins with the death on Manitoulin Island of a young German man sought by Interpol.

The only witness is Dr. Mary Fraser, Canada’s ranking expert on native symbols and an Ojibwa herself. She bloodied her hands when she failed to stop the murder. Drawn back to Manitoulin to recover her childhood identity, she ends up in a forensic psych hospital, unable to recall who’s responsible.

A first volume of poetry from Owen Sound writer Richard-Yves Sitoski draws its inspiration from brownfield sites – contaminated former industrial lots that are often too costly to remediate and so remain undeveloped. Sitoski sets out to explore why it is that Owen Sound evolved the way it did: “Why did some of his town’s most vital and celebrated industries wither and die, leaving vast, unsightly scars on the landscape?” His investigations led him back to the mythical past and pointed to an unsettled future.

Brownfields is published by Owen Sound’s Ginger Press.

posted August 30th, 2014
More local reads and chats with the authors

The Meaford Independent editor Stephen Vance just keeps on reading local authors and talking to them about their work. This week, he profiled two more local reads.

Backroad Crafts by Kate Civiero and Becky Comber

Backroad Crafts by Kate Civiero and Becky ComberThe book won’t be officially launched until September 7, but Stephen gives you a sneak preview of this armchair guide showcasing the work and techniques of 30 Grey/Bruce craftspeople. A perfect guidebook to take with you as you ramble the beautiful backroads around Meaford and nearby areas. Here’s Stephen’s article.

The Bognor Chronicles by Ray Johnson

The Bognor Chronicles by Ray JohnsonWhen he was 44, Ray Johnson began setting down his reminiscences of growing up in Bognor, near Meaford. Thirty-one years later, he is publishing those stories, along with his photos dating back to those he took with his first boyhood camera. For a trip back to those bygone days, pick up this book. Read the interview here.

posted August 23rd, 2014
Local Meaford reads for young and old

While the long days of summer may be shortening, you can still enjoy a summer read. Stephen Vance, editor of our local online newspaper, The Meaford Independent, has been hard at work reading (and interviewing) local authors this summer. Here are a couple of the books and writer’s he’s profiled recently.

Surviving Well is the Best Revenge, by Patric Ryan

Surviving Well is the Best Revenge by Patric RyanThe Owen Sound author has penned a tale that will “transport you to 1950’s Cuba to heat things up,” writes Stephen. “If the dust-jacket blurb doesn’t hook you, a page or two of the first chapter certainly will, and once immersed, each of the 340 pages that follow will nearly turn themselves.” Stephen interviews the prolific Patric Ryan and discovers more about his tale of an expat in pre-revolutionary Cuba here.

My Strong Sturdy Scarecrows and other books, by Linda Hamill, illustrated by Karen Bannister Rosie

My Strong Sturdy Scarecrows by Linda HamillThe former English Teacher at Georgian Bay Secondary School in Meaford has turned her love for writing and for our community into a trio of children’s books (so far) dramatizing the adventures of Meaford kids. She works with Karen Bannister Rosie, an artist, landscape architect and award-winning gardener who lives in Ballinafad, Ontario. And you can find her at the Meaford Farmer’s Market every Friday. Stephen’s writeup. And here’s a story from the Scarecrow website.

More next week.

posted June 28th, 2014
Meaford Cider Tour 3 – Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery

During a long cycle down the Beaver Valley last summer, we caught a glimpse of a rustic hand-lettered sign by the side of the road. “Hard Cider”. While we knew better, we had images of a grizzled farmer filling a gallon jug of his homemade hard apple cider while keeping an eye out for the “revenue man”. Somehow, we managed to miss the more professionally prepared sign at the lane just down the road.

Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery opened its doors last August in a beautifully renovated barn on the Beaver Valley vacation property John Mott and Judy Cornwell bought in 1997. The couple released the first batch of deliciously dry cider from the Autumn, 2012 pressing last year, even as they began pressing the second year’s batch.

beaver valley cidery barn

In 2007, John and Judy visited a small wine region in Australia and were captivated by the ambience of the small wineries they visited – where the owners would come in from the vineyards to pour wine and talk to customers, then head back out to tend the grapes. It meshed perfectly with the dreams they’d long had of finding a way to live full-time at the farm while earning a living.

“We thought what a lifestyle those guys have,” says Judy. “And we looked around and realized we have 50 acres and Beaver Valley apples, and we’ve got this old barn in good condition that we’d like to preserve and give a new lease on life. We can grow apples and we can make cider.”

Judy and John spent 2008 pulling rocks from the fields where they planned to plant the orchard, and the trees went in the next year. After a year or so of planning and design, working with Kimberley architect Peter Ferguson, they began renovating the barn as the cidery and visitors’ area, finishing in 2011. And in the meantime, they were perfecting their cider-making skills and their recipe.

Beaver Valley Cidery barn interiorThe couple travelled to the UK and to Washington state to take courses from Peter Mitchell, an internationally recognized cider guru, and experimented with different apple blends and yeasts to make batches in small 23-litre carboys. By 2011, they moved from “kitchen-table” batches to the industrial level equipment they’d installed in the barn, and began making larger batches. They were ready to create their first batch for sale in 2012.

2012 turned out to the worst apple-growing year in memory, with early warm spells and a killing frost, and the couple lost their crop. But fortunately, while the apples that did survive locally weren’t attractive enough for eating, they were just fine for cider. They bought the same varieties from local growers (a practice they’ll continue along with using apples from their own orchard), and made the first pressing of Beaver Valley Cider.

“We want to make our cider as natural as possible,” says Judy. “We basically have fermented apples, and don’t add anything back in unless we’re doing a specialty cider.” (This summer, they’re offering a ginger cider, infused with fresh, organic ginger.)

The production from press to pour takes about a year – four to six months of cold, slow fermentation, followed by four to six months of aging. “It’s very minimalist, unfiltered, unpasteurized, unsweetened,” says Judy. “But it mellows out in that time. We do the least possible intrusions and let the apples work their magic.”

The result is a very dry and refreshing cider that’s truly distinctive from other dry ciders. And while it’s not available in your local LCBO, you can order online at the cidery’s website. But better yet, enjoy a visit to the cidery for a tasting, perhaps enhanced by a tray of perfectly paired artisanal cheeses and homemade paté. Then take home a few bottles of your own.

Beaver Valley Cidery bottles   Beaver Valley Cidery platter

Next Page »