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 October 6th, 2011
A fall paddle down the Beaver River

With beautiful sunshine and summery temps predicted for Thanksgiving weekend, this is the perfect time to enjoy the vibrant fall colours of the Beaver Valley from the vantage of a canoe or kayak on the Beaver River. The river meanders gently through the Beaver Valley, curving through forests and meadows making a delightfully relaxing paddle for everyone, from beginners on up. And with three access points, you can choose the length of your journey. In addition to the fall colours, you’ll likely catch glimpses of wildlife, and if you like, you can drop in a line.

Upriver, the highest access point is just north of Kimberley west off the Beaver Valley Road (Grey Road 13). For 10 kilometres, you wind through mainly mature forest, shaded by large hardwoods. While seeming wilderness, the foliage is quite a bit different from the northern paddling most Ontarians are used to, making it a unique experience. You’ll likely encounter the odd log jam, but don’t worry; if you can’t pull the boat over, your portage won’t be more than a few yards.

When you reach the next access point near the Epping road, or when you put in here, you’ll see the canopy open above you, drift through more open spaces with views of the valley, and enjoy the odd slightly swifter current.

The Heathcote dock is on the right bank before the bridge. You can pull out here, or continue through the hamlet to “Slabtown”, a favourite swimming hole. You might encounter a few small rapids and eddies in this section, before you pull out on the left bank before the dam.

Find more paddling info and maps here.

And you can rent a canoe or kayak, and even book a guide and learn some tips at Free Spirit Tours.

posted June 23rd, 2011
Take the kids or the grandkids fishing in Meaford this weekend

Meaford’s Take A Kid Fishing Bass Derby is in its 28th year, and organizer Alan Craig says some of the youngsters who fished years ago will be making a return visit to this year’s derby.

“People really like it,” he says. “Kids that fished 28 years ago are bringing their kids back to fish now. ”

The family event encourages families to fish together, but it’s the kids who get to enter their catch in the derby and take home the prizes. (Actually, every kid goes home with a fishing related prize – last year it was a fishing pole – and there’s also T-shirts from Tim Hortons and a raffle for boys and girls bikes.)

Families fish the Bighead River in Meaford or the Beaver River in Thornbury, as well as along the Southern Georgian Bay shoreline between the two towns, vying for the biggest catch in their age groups – which range from three years old to 17. The derby encourages live release, with an extra 100 grams added onto your catch if you let it go after its weighed.

“Everybody has a pretty good time,” says Craig. “Little kids don’t mind if they only get a six-inch fish on their line. They’re just beaming when they come to the scales with it.”

Families come from all over Ontario and even further to fish together for the weekend, he says.

The Take A Kid Fishing Bass Derby is held this Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon, with registration Friday night between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. or any time during the derby. The entry fee is only $5, with tickets available at Bulk Boys Foods, Rick’s Pro Shop, Stedman’s Department Store, Suzie’s Place and U Catch ‘Em Charters.

And when the kids are done fishing, they can check out the Meaford rodeo. Yep, the rodeo. More on that tomorrow.

posted May 11th, 2011
Gone fishing in Meaford

A stroll around town will tell you something’s up the last few weeks, even if you’re not of the piscatorial persuasion. The steelhead rainbow trout season kicked off at the end of April with the spring run, and the anglers have donned their waders and gear and are out in full force on Meaford’s Bighead River.

fishing on Meaford's Bighead River

A young couple casts for steelhead rainbow trout on Meaford's Bighead River this afternoon

(The Georgian Triangle Anglers’ Association 2011 Rainbow Trout Derby wrapped up on Saturday, and as we weren’t at the awards ceremony we’re still waiting for the results on their website!)

The Bighead is a major draw for fishermen (and women) in the know, but we’ll let Fly Fish Ontario fill you in.

“This river is probably best known for its run of steelhead rainbow trout in the fall and spring. It is also host to an excellent cold water fishery in its upper reaches…

“It is a small river. Really only the locals and seasoned veterans know the upper reaches due to its thrashingly thick bush and untouched banks. Private property conceals most of the river. Once permission is granted, access is golden as trout in the upper reaches are plentiful and fat. The lower reaches are well travelled by many fisherman in search of a wild silver trophy during the fall and spring…

“Many excellent runs offer great drifts for several kilometers along the river and the Rainbows, Browns and Salmon are plentiful when the run is on… Smallmouth Bass also inhabit the river, and a resident population of Browns and Brookies can be found in its upper reaches and tributaries”

Or to put it another way, “Man I am hooked on steelies!” That’s the verdict of “FishStalker”, writing on Read his entertaining tale of a Bighead River fishing expedition (and forgive him for suggesting Meaford is in Northern Ontario – he is, after all, from south of the border).