Heading west along southern Georgian Bay, after the sandy expanse of Wasaga Beach (the largest freshwater beach in the world), the opportunities to throw down a beach towel grow a little more scarce. Then you reach Meaford. Tucked away in a corner of town, you’ll find a true jewel: a narrow drive dips into a leafy forest, past the Memorial Park campground, and then to the hidden sandy stretch of Memorial Park Beach.
Despite its beauty, with vistas of the headland of Cape Rich and the shore curving around Nottasawaga Bay, white sails dipping among the waves, and the rustle of leaves in the lake breeze, you’ll notice a surprising detail. There’s space to lay out your towel. Unlike the more popular party beaches elsewhere, this relatively undiscovered beach is uncrowded and quiet. It’s also tidy, clean and friendly.
Residents recognize the Meaford-owned park as a true asset to the community, and over the years many grassroots groups have helped keep it that way – from the Kin Canada members who helped develop the campground to the Friends of Memorial Park. That group, along with the Meaford Independent, Meaford’s online newspaper, sponsored last weekend’s Earth Day Park Clean-Up. A group of volunteers pitched in to get things ready for the coming summer days, wrapping up their hard work with local organic apple cider donated by Willow Naturals, a new Meaford business.
(Last week marked another significant date in the history of environmentalism. The day before Earth Day was the birthday of John Muir, the famous father of environmentalism in North America. And believe it or not, Meaford held a special place in Muir’s heart. Stay tuned for more soon, and learn how to find the place Muir called a “retired and romantic hollow”. It’s closer than you think.)