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 February 4th, 2016
A Canadian source of home and health care information for seniors

As you consider your own retirement living plans, there’s a chance you’re also dealing with helping your parents explore their own housing options. The Care Guide offers a variety of resources on housing services for seniors in Canada, as well as information on how to evaluate housing choices; tips on how to prepare their home so they can remain there – safely – for longer; a list of community services across the country; information on such legal issues as powers of attorney, and more.

The site, and its companion publication The Care Guide, is the brainchild of President Fred Schleich, who saw a need for a central source of information on retirement home and care choices. “Today’s landscape has become far more sophisticated,” he writes. “Today’s senior housing and care options range from professional home monitoring using communication and web based tools, to professional home support or home health care agencies to elegantly appointed retirement residences that offer independent to supportive living, assisted living to memory care, that are far removed from the images that come to mind when we think of the ‘old age’ homes of yesterday.”

While the website supplies a wealth of information, the printed Care Guide is an important part of the company’s offering, says Schleich. “”Many of the elderly, particularly over the age of 75, do not use the internet,” observes Fred Schleich, President of “It is a disservice to not provide them with easily accessible print information for their retirement and home care options.”

The site allows you to order a print copy to review with your parents without having to go online.

posted November 30th, 2015
Meaford music scene and business environment add to retirement advantages

Billy and Ann Marie Fairley had found the perfect retirement location in Meaford – a beautiful, charming Ontario small town on Georgian Bay. But the couple weren’t retired yet, and beyond its location and charm, Meaford offered other advantages.

Meaford also proved to be a welcoming environment for a small business, which met another criterion. Billy operates his tailoring business, The Sewing House, from the basement in their new home at 96 Margaret Street, where he tailors and repairs all kinds of clothing – dresses, jeans, jackets and more – including replacing zippers, which is a hard-to-find service. He quickly found customers knocking on his door, and his clientele continues to grow.

To top it all off, Meaford’s musical community was a truly welcoming surprise for the accomplished rock drummer. “Music is becoming more than a sideline,” he says. “I’m busier here musically than I was down in Alliston.” From the foxtrots of Pitlochry to Meaford’s music scene, Billy “The Kid” Fairley has led an interesting and varied musical life. After three years in the hotel gig, he started a group called Just Us with Andy Roberts on guitar and Dougie Thompson on bass. (Dougie later joined Supertramp, and Andy played with a number of major artists on tour and in the studio, including a stint in the “Surrogate Band” during Pink Floyd’s 1981 The Wall tour.) Then he teamed up with an erstwhile folk trio gone folk-rock, becoming the drummer for String Driven Thing. 1973’s “The Machine that Cried”, the band’s first album recorded with the rock line-up, is “now regarded as a forgotten classic”, according to Wikipedia.

When Billy maried Canadian Ann Marie and moved with her to Canada, he initially thought he’d left his musical life behind. “I lost all my musical buddies, and I lost a lot of chances.” He returned to the UK to play a few times, “But Canada’s a place to bring up your kids, definitely,” he says.

And now his musical horizons are expanding in Meaford. He’s teamed with a number of professional and amateur musicians and songwriters and hopes to be in the studio recording soon. He also has plans to stage a revival of his musical, “Freedom”, a rock opera treatment of the Braveheart story brought to life in the movie starring Mel Gibson. “This is the true story, though”, Billy emphasizes.

Meaford’s proving to be the perfect place to retire. “It’s safe here to ride bikes, it’s safe to go on walks. You can go down to the harbour any time in five minutes. The tailoring business is getting busy. And I’m busy musically,” says Billy, who’s packed a lot into the first few months of his Meaford life. “You have to,” he says. “I’ve lost a lot of close friends in the last few years, and it’s made me think, I ain’t here for a long time. Let’s go out with a bang.”

Hear and watch a couple of Billy’s performances:

posted November 27th, 2015
Retiring in small town Ontario – Meaford proves perfect for this couple

Not too long ago, an aborted trip to Tobermory found Billy and Ann Marie Fairley on the road through Meaford – where they discovered a retirement location that checked off all the boxes on their lists.

After getting off-course on a trip from Alliston and up the Bruce Peninsula in the summer of 2014, the couple arrived in Meaford from the west. They were immediately captured by views of the blue sweep of Georgian Bay and the charm of Meaford’s historical main street. “I thought, this reminds me Pitlochry,” Billy says. Back when he was 16, he’d spent years in the Perthshire, Scotland village, playing drums at the popular Atholl Palace Hotel. “It was my haunt for three years, playing quicksteps and foxtrots.” He chuckles. “Not my type of music, but it was the best time of my life.” Set amidst beautiful rural scenery, Pitlochry is close in size to Meaford and the main street is lined with shops housed in older architecture.

“We came through Meaford, and I said to my wife, ‘You know what, let’s move here. This is gorgeous. The massive water and just the quaintness of the town. She said, ‘Yep!'”

A year later, they’d made the move.

Billy’s sewing and tailoring business could be reasonably easily transferred to a new location, as long as he could build up a new clientele. And while she’d initially planned on commuting, his wife was fortunate in being able to arrange a transfer from the Catholic school in Alliston to one in Collingwood. “It was funny how it all came about,” says Billy. “It was meant to be.”

Box One, checked. They’d found the perfect destination for their retirement years. And they’d settled in before they were even fully retired.

But Meaford proved to have much more in store for Billy “The Kid” Fairley. More next time.

posted June 7th, 2014
Owen Sound Seniors Fair 2014

This Wednesday, make sure you head down to the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound for the Seventh Annual Seniors’ Fair. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the schedule’s full of activities, including seminars and entertainment, and you have more than 77 exhibitors to visit and browse their wares and services.

Seminars include “Driving Success for Seniors”; “Get your Money!”, tips on how to take advantage of Ontario’s tax credits and benefits; and “Fun Changes Behaviour!”, an interactive presentation on ways to keep good mental health, physical wellness and social connectivity.

This year’s entertainment features Murray Smith and Friends, Taoist Tai Chi demonstrations and The Salvation Army Golden Agers Line Dancers.

Exhibits cover a wide array of products and services of interest to retirees.

The event is organized and presented by the United Way Bruce Grey.

For more information, call 519.376.1560 or email

A video from last year’s fair:

posted May 24th, 2014
How a new view of retirement living explodes old ideas

A (sponsored) article today in the Northumberland News attempts to explain the difference between “retirement residences” and “nursing homes”. It suggests that some people are confused, and might shy away from moving to a retirement residence because they equate it with a nursing home.

It boils down to independence, the piece explains, with retirement residences allowing you to live in private and semi-private accommodations, with light housekeeping and meals provided. Long-term-care facilities, on the other hand, offer 24-hour nursing care and supervision among other services for those who are no longer willing or able to live independently.

ontario retirement homes

This is a fairly reductive take on the subject. The article doesn’t explore the options available for those in early retirement – such as fully independent living within a retirement community.

And finally, there’s a new concept of retirement living which combines all three of these scenarios into something much richer. That’s the concept behind Meaford Haven, which makes it a “Three-Seasons Communityâ„¢”. At Meaford Haven, you can choose the accommodation and lifestyle that suits you. In your early retirement years, you can live independently in a comfortable, manageable bungalow; with outdoor chores crossed off your list, you have plenty of time to explore and engage in all that Meaford and the Georgian Bay area has to offer. Or you can choose the mid-rise condominiums and apartments, which provide a greater level of security and service. And then there’s our full care accommodations.

With all of these different facilities situated in one community, Meaford Haven is greater than the sum of its parts. As you decide you’re ready for a more structured environment, you can move without leaving behind your friends, the places you’ve grown to love and the community you’ve become part of.

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 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 January 18th, 2014
Five ways to practice for retirement

Are you ready for retirement? Those in the know suggest that, as with anything you want to do well, you may want to practice. At a time when many are deciding to work a little longer, this can be a way of tasting the good life sooner. It can ease the shock of plunging right into retirement, going cold-turkey on your work life and possibly discovering that too much time on your hands is not for you. It can help you decide, ahead of time, what activities, interests and endeavours you want to pursue in retirement. And it can help you get involved with the folks and local groups in the community where you plan on spending your retirement years.

1. Losing the daily social fix of the workplace can come as a shock to your system. So start building new networks now. Seek out organizations, groups and fellow hobbyists in areas that interest you, and get involved. In addition to enriching your life right now, these relationships will give you a social continuity as you move into retirement.

2. Make sure you’ve sampled the activities you want to enjoy in retirement. Maybe you’ve envisioned retirement as providing the time to take up that hobby or passion you left along the way years ago. Don’t wait. Pick it up again now and find out if its still right for you.

3. Try out new hobbies. Discovering new frontiers is a great way to enrich and liven up your retirement. So think beyond the old ideas you’ve had, and give these a try. By spending time exploring new activities now, you can plan on accommodating those that really grab you.

4. Try living on a little less. If you’re planning on getting by with less income in retirement, find out how that impacts you now, and start to prioritize where you want to spend money in retirement. Getting by with one car in retirement? Try it now. (Put the savings from your experiment into your retirement funds.)

5. Spend as much time as possible in the community you plan on living in – at different times of year. This gives you a better sense of what to expect when you do move, and allows you to get involved now with local activities, community groups, clubs, and even businesses. When it’s time to retire, you’ll already be part of the community.

To plan longer holiday stays in Meaford, visit:

posted January 4th, 2014
Retirement New Year’s Resolutions

The new year brings new and not-so-new financial advice for people planning for or starting retirement. Here are just a few of the recent crop.

Pay down debt, save, and reduce investment fees are three of Canadian Living’s “Five Pre-Retirement New Year’s Resolutions”.

Avoiding getting sucked in by sale prices and publicly predict investment yields are two of the creative ideas in these financial resolutions you might actually keep, from Time Magazine.

Practicing “mindfulness” puts a new perspective on financial planning in Smarter Investor’s resolutions for new retirees.

Our resolution… treasure and enjoy life in this beautiful place. Happy New Year, and here’s to a great 2014!

posted November 23rd, 2013
More online retirement resources

Here are some more retirement resources as close as your nearest browser.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has launched a free online guide to financial considerations in retirement. Living in Retirement covers such topics as budgeting during retirement, various sources of retirement income and credits – including public pension benefits, tax credits and other benefits for seniors, working in retirement, ways to protect yourself from financial abuse and fraud, and dealing with changing living needs, caregiving and other transitions.

Retirement resourcesThird Quarter bills itself “the job service for mature Canadians”. With support from the federal Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, the non-profit organization offers various online resources and information, as well as an employment service which matches employers with Canadians aged 45 and over. offers a wealth of retirement resources, including articles on finance, housing, planning, and health.

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