|Motto: "The Other Big Apple"|
|Formed||January 1, 2001|
|• Mayor||Francis Richardson|
|• Federal riding||Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound|
|• Prov. riding||Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound|
|• Land||588.61 km2 (227.26 sq mi)|
|• Density||18.9/km2 (49/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||519 and 226|
Meaford is a Canadian municipality in Grey County, Ontario. Meaford is located on Nottawasaga Bay, a sub-basin of Georgian Bay and Owen Sound Bay, in southern Ontario. The municipality's seal and motto reflect its heritage as a place of apple orchards, but in the 21st century the area has partly switched to weekend homes, seasonal homes, and lakeside tourism.
In addition to the communities of Annan, Bognor, Leith and Woodford, the municipality also includes town of Meaford itself (44°36′N 80°35′W).
In 2001, with the amalgamation of various municipalities in Southern Ontario, the Town of Meaford, St. Vincent and Sydenham Township were amalgamated to form one municipality entity. Sydenham Township named in part for Lord Sydenham, governor of Canada from 1839 to 1841. St. Vincent Township was named after The Earl of St. Vincent and Meaford was named after his stately house. A township is an area of land (about 15 miles by 12 miles)that is divided into 100 acre farms (usually). For more than one hundred years the townships of Ontario were municipal entities with an elected council and a reeve. Sometimes a small area of a township was separated and incorporated as a town. The town was then a separate and distinct municipality. This was the case with Meaford in 1874 when it was separated from St. Vincent township. However it ceased to be a town at the time of amalgamation.
A transition team preparing for the new municipality voted in September 2000 to name it Georgian Highlands, with the name Meaford ranking second. Highland Hills, Georgian Shores, Bayview, Trillium, Big Head Valley, Georgian View, Cape Rich, Bay Shore Highlands, Georgian Bay Highlands, North Grey and Queen's Bush were other names considered.
But the council of the new Georgian Highlands municipality voted 4-3 on 5 February 2001 voted to name the amalgamated area Meaford, citing confusion with nearby municipalities such as Georgian Bluffs and Grey Highlands. A by-law to formalize the name change to Meaford for the amalgamated area was subsequently passed on 5 March 2001, also by a 4-3 vote.
- Population in 2011: 14,200
- Population in 2006: 10,948
- Population in 2001: 10,381
- Population total in 1996: 10,497
- Meaford (town): 4681
- St. Vincent (township): 2610
- Sydenham (township): 3206
- Population in 1991:
- Meaford (town): 4520
- St. Vincent (township): 2340
- Sydenham (township): 2991
The former mayors of Meaford were:
- 1998-2000: Doug Grant
- 2001-2003: Gerald Shortt (first Mayor since 2001 amalgamation)
- 2003-2008: Wally Reif
- 2008–Present: Francis Richardson
Meaford is on the eastern edge of the Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound federal and provincial electoral district. Since the time of amalgamation in 2001, a large and vocal group of citizens has continued to object to the forced amalgamation, and this continued objection plays a role in shaping local politics, juxtaposing urban Meaford against rural Meaford. Many rural residents see the list of amenities within the Town of Meaford as perks for which rural tax dollars are spent, rather than spending for roads and other necessary services in the rural areas. The debate is interminable, and continues largely due to the imbalance of power on municipal council held by the Town of Meaford. Property taxes within the Municipality of Meaford continue to be exceedingly high in relation to other rural areas nearby.
The town is served by two community newspapers, the Meaford Express and the Meaford Independent, the latter originally an online only publication, however as of May 31, 2013, is available both online and in print. CKNX-FM, originating from Wingham, Ontario to the south, has a low-power retransmitter on 104.9 FM to serve Centreville and Meaford. Meaford is otherwise served principally by media from nearby Owen Sound.
The closest airport is Billy Bishop Regional Airport located on Highway 26 between the town of Meaford and Owen Sound.
Meaford has three public schools with the Bluewater District School Board:
- St.Vincent Euphrasia Elementary School (Grades JK - 6)
- Meaford Community School (Grades JK - 8)
- Georgian Bay Secondary School (Grades 9 - 12)
- Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre
- Meaford Creative Arts Association
- Meaford Museum
- Meaford International Film Festival
- Heritage Meaford - Architectural Conservancy - Meaford Branch
- Beautiful Joe Heritage Society
- Fred S. Haines Commemorative Exhibition
- Several scenes from the Disney movie One Magic Christmas were filmed in Meaford.
- Several scenes from a local Collingwood movie, "Scarce", were filmed in Meaford and at Ted's Range Road Diner.
- Beautiful Joe, a dog immortalized by the 1894 book of the same name
- Claude Bissell, author and educator
- Keith Bissell: composer, conductor, and music educator (1912–1992).
- James Conmee, former Member of Provincial Parliament
- Fred S. Haines (1879–1960) artist
- Tom Harpur, Author and religious columnist
- Don Knight, former Member of Provincial Parliament
- Brent Laing, curler
- Ron Lipsett, former Member of Provincial Parliament
- Marshall B. Lloyd, inventor of Lloyd Loom, Pres. Lloyd Mfg., Menominee, MI
- Herb Mitchell, former forward for the Boston Bruins
- John Muir, naturalist, author, "Father of the (U.S.) National Parks"
- Bill Murdoch, Member of Provincial Parliament
- Darren Pang, former goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks
- Glenn Smith, former defenseman for the Toronto St. Patricks
- Melville "Sparky" Vail, former defenseman for the New York Rangers
- Terry Wong, Canadian astronaut
- "Meaford census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- Woodhouse, Scott (2000-09-13). "Georgian Highlands selected as new name". The Meaford Express. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
- Fell, Chris (2000-11-15). "Gerald Shortt elected first Mayor of Georgian Highlands". The Meaford Express. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Wally Reif resigns, effective now
- "Conmee Family Photo Gallery". 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- "Biographies: Lloyd, Marshall Burns". mlloyd.org, sourced from Who's Who in America, 1926-27. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
|Chatsworth, Grey Highlands||The Blue Mountains|