Meaford, Ontario

Coordinates: 44°35′N 80°44′W / 44.58°N 80.73°W / 44.58; -80.73
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Municipality of Meaford
Official logo of Meaford
"Set your sights on Meaford"
Meaford is located in Grey County
Meaford is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 44°35′N 80°44′W / 44.58°N 80.73°W / 44.58; -80.73
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Incorporated1874 (town)
AmalgamatedJanuary 1, 2001
 • MayorRoss Kentner
 • Federal ridingBruce—Grey—Owen Sound
 • Prov. ridingBruce—Grey—Owen Sound
 • Land588.57 km2 (227.25 sq mi)
 • Total10,991
 • Density18.7/km2 (48/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)519 and 226 Edit this at Wikidata

Meaford is a municipality in Grey County, Ontario, Canada located on Nottawasaga Bay, a sub-basin of Georgian Bay and Owen Sound Bay, in the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation 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.

The Canadian Army maintains a training facility, the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford (4 CDTC), 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northwest of the town of Meaford.


In addition to the town of Meaford itself, the municipality also includes the communities of Annan, Balaclava, Bognor, Centreville, Leith, and Woodford.


Meaford Fire Hall

In 1837, when this area was part of the St. Vincent Township, locals asked the government for a piece of land at the mouth of the Bighead River. The first settler was from Ireland, before the townsite was laid out by Charles Rankin in 1845 and called Meaford. By then, a sawmill and gristmill were already operating nearby; the post office there was called St. Vincent. Meaford saw little growth until 1850 but then began booming; it had a library by 1856.[2]

Meaford had previously been named Peggy's Landing and Stephenson's Landing.[3]

The post office was renamed Meaford in 1865, after the birthplace of John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent, for whom the township of St. Vincent is named; by then, the community was booming and had connection by steamship and roads with the railway at Collingwood. The community became a town in 1874.[4]

The Grand Trunk Railway station in Meaford, May 1902.

The Northern Railway of Canada's North Grey Railway arrived in Meaford on December 31, 1872 in its westward push from Collingwood via Thornbury.[5] It was originally planned to extend further west to Owen Sound, but this ambition was never realized due to a number of factors, including rough terrain, financial limitations, and competition from the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway, which reached Owen Sound in 1873.[6] The railway was later part of the Grand Trunk Railway and Canadian National Railways (CNR) systems. Thereafter, it became known as the CN Meaford Subdivision. Regular passenger service ended in 1960 and the line was abandoned in 1985.[6]

In 1872, there were six churches. By the early 1880s, Meaford boasted three planing mills, three carriage factories, two tanneries, a sawmill, a shingle mill, a woollen mill, two foundries, two flour mills, a dozen general stores, and a wide range of other stores and tradesmen. The community also had ten hotels. A public school was added in 1868 with 152 students within a year. A high school was opened in 1890.[7]

2001 amalgamation[edit]

In 2001, with the amalgamation of various municipalities in Southern Ontario, St. Vincent Township, Sydenham Township and the Town of Meaford, 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.[8]

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.

Since that time confusion has continued in the use of the name "Meaford". At present the name "Meaford" is commonly used in reference to the urban area formerly known as the Town of Meaford, while the name "Municipality of Meaford" is commonly used in reference to the merged region resulting from amalgamation in 2001.


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Meaford had a population of 11,485 living in 5,035 of its 5,828 total private dwellings, a change of 4.5% from its 2016 population of 10,991. With a land area of 587.57 km2 (226.86 sq mi), it had a population density of 19.5/km2 (50.6/sq mi) in 2021.[9]

Canada census – Meaford community profile
Population11,485 (+4.5% from 2016)10,991 (-1.0% from 2011)11,100 (+1.4% from 2006)
Land area587.57 km2 (226.86 sq mi)588.57 km2 (227.25 sq mi)588.61 km2 (227.26 sq mi)
Population density19.5/km2 (51/sq mi)18.7/km2 (48/sq mi)18.9/km2 (49/sq mi)
Median age54.4 (M: 52.8, F: 55.6)53.0 (M: 52.1, F: 53.9)
Private dwellings5,035 (total)  5,590 (total)  5,327 (total) 
Median household income$65,792
References: 2021[10] 2016[11] 2011[12] earlier[13][14]
Historical population

Local government[edit]

The former mayors of Meaford were:

  • 1998–2000: Doug Grant[16]
  • 2001–2003: Gerald Shortt[16] (first Mayor since 2001 amalgamation)
  • 2003–2008: Wally Reif[17]
  • 2008–2014: Francis Richardson
  • 2014–2022: Barb Clumpus

Meaford is on the eastern edge of the Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound federal and provincial electoral district.

Meaford Hall


The town of Meaford is located on Ontario Highway 26 between Owen Sound and Collingwood on Highway 26.

A local public transit service makes stops within urban Meaford but not in Sydenham or St Vincent. Local taxis service the area around the town of Meaford.

Billy Bishop Regional Airport is located in the municipality on Highway 26 between the Town of Meaford and Owen Sound.


Meaford has one public school with the Bluewater District School Board:

  • Georgian Bay Community School (Grades JK - 12)

The closest post-secondary school is the Georgian College regional campus in Owen Sound, Ontario.



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 and the former being sold and eventually ceasing publication,[18] 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 the municipality. Meaford is otherwise served principally by media from nearby Owen Sound. Rogers cable is available in the Town of Meaford while residents in the former St. Vincent and Sydenham have access only to Satellite TV.

Municipal Symbols[edit]

On April 15, 2016 the Canadian Heraldic Authority[19] granted Meaford its coat of arms, flag and badge.

Coat of arms[edit]

Coat of arms of Meaford, Ontario
15 April 2016
Issuant from a circlet of staghorn sumac and trillium flowers, a rocky mount growing therefrom an eastern white pine tree proper
Per chevron Azure and Argent, in chief two schooners respectant Argent, in base three apples proper
Two percherons proper winged Azure each gorged of maple leaves Vert and standing on a bed of ostrich ferns set with two garbs of wheat proper
An apple Gules charged with a schooner Argent


Per fess Argent and Azure an escutcheon of the Arms.[19]


An apple Gules charged with a schooner Argent.[19]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Census Profile 2016; Meaford (Municipality)". Census 2016. Statistics Canada. Retrieved November 22, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Our History". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). The Macmillan Book of Canadian Place Names. Toronto: Macmillan. p. 158. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  4. ^ "Historical Plaques of Grey County". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Jeffrey P. (June 20, 2016). "C.N.Rys. Meaford Subdivision". Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Cooper, Charles. "The North Grey Railway" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Mary Williams Trout: Diaries of a Small Town Lady | Grey Roots". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  8. ^ Woodhouse, Scott (September 13, 2000). "Georgian Highlands selected as new name". The Meaford Express. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007.
  9. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  10. ^ "2021 Community Profiles". 2021 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 4, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  11. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 12, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 21, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  13. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. August 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  16. ^ a b Fell, Chris (November 15, 2000). "Gerald Shortt elected first Mayor of Georgian Highlands". The Meaford Express. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  17. ^ Wally Reif resigns, effective now, Owen Sound Sun Times
  18. ^ Evans, Pete (November 27, 2017). "Postmedia and Torstar swap dozens of small newspapers, most to be shut down". CBC News Business. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  19. ^ a b c General, Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Corporation of the Municipality of Meaford". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  20. ^ "Conmee Family Photo Gallery". December 19, 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  21. ^ "Biographies: Lloyd, Marshall Burns"., sourced from Who's Who in America, 1926-27. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "John Muir's Wild Years - Mountain Life". Mountain Life. July 21, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  23. ^ Mather, Dave. "John Muir in Canada". Retrieved October 19, 2017.

External links[edit]