Headwaters is rebranding itself as the destination ‘where Ontario gets real’. Last week, I had the honour to be one of the first to experience what this lovely region has to offer.
What is Headwaters?
Located at less than an hour drive north of Toronto is the Headwaters: the communities of Orangeville, Caledon, Erin, Shelburne and Dufferin County; a 2,534 sq-km region of Ontario where the air is a bit fresher, the water is a bit clearer; a place where turtles, cows, and gypsy vanners run freely; a closest getaway for those who are sick of Toronto’s synthetic city world, and where life gets real.
Joining a 2-day media tour with the Headwaters Tourism, I was able to visit some local business and enjoy some rural fun!
After dropping off our bags at our incredibly spacious suite in the Best Western Plus Orangeville Inn & Suites, our jam-packed journey begins
1. Visit the Caledon Equestrian Park
Caledon Equestrian Park is the official venue for the 2015 Pan American Games (Jul, 10- Jul 26, 2015). It has recently gone through renovations and now has become a world-class equestrian centre. It now has a new stadium, a new Grand Prix arena, 6 competition rings, training facilities, a vendor area, and new seating areas for the games.
While we were there, 26 life-size fiberglass horses were being transformed into whimsical art pieces by regional artists. The horses will be displayed at Headwaters‘ prominent locations during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and throughout the season (until Aug 30th, 2015).
While the Pan Am Games being the big event, Caledon Equestrian Park also hosts events almost every weekend during the summer. Grab a drink, watch a free competition, or simply enjoy the beautiful view of Headwaters.
2. Fly at Brampton Flight Centre
Brampton Flight Centre is one of the top flight training schools in Canada. Many successful members of the aviation industry graduated from there.
Our pilot took us on a sightseeing flight over the Pan Am torch relay route in a Cessna 172 and flew us across Caledon East, Palgrave, Alton, Belfountain, and Inglewood.
If you go there, don’t forget to visit The Great War Flying Museum, the only museum in Canada that builds representations of WW1 aircraft.
3. Get Artsy at The Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre
The Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre is located in the Glen Williams town. The art studio features over 25 accomplished artists who will guide you through making your own masterpiece such as a blown glass vase, a stone sculpture, a piece of jewelry, and more. I opt for the stone sculpture since it sounded more challenging and ended up with a pretty… “abstract” piece of work.
4. Smith at Professional Farrier Supply
Professional Farrier Supply is one of Canada’s top suppliers for farrier equipment. It has an extensive in-stock inventory including horseshoes, nails, farrier tools, hoof care products, hoof stands, and so much more. Brad Davidson, owner of Professional Farrier Supply who started the business with his wife over 30 years ago, taught us all about horseshoes and gave us a live smithing demonstration.
Visitors will have the same chance to watch Brad smith on July 11, 2015, during the Pan American Games and the 8th annual Headwaters Horse Country Stable Tour, from 9am to 12pm, when Professional Farrier Supply opens its door to the public.
A regular horse changes shoes every 6 weeks whereas a racehorse gets shod every month. For a place with 23,000 horses, 2,224 horse boarding and breeding farms, business must be good for them, not to mention they also ship international.
With a little help from Brad, I was able to bring home a little souvenir I forged myself.
5. Dine at Cabin
Cabin is located in the Hockley Valley Golf and Ski Resort, where many Torontonians drive up just to host corporate meetings. My dining experience at Cabin was wonderful. Ingredients were locally sourced and vegetables were picked the same morning from the resort’s 2-acre garden. The open-concept kitchen created a lively and interactive space.
Beets were served with fresh feta cheese and sprinkled with pine nuts, lobster ravioli were made in-house with organic eggs and 00 flour, Ontario harvest steak was complemented with a nice, thick strip of bacon and cultivated mushrooms.
6. Watch a show at Theatre Orangeville
Theatre Orangeville is housed in a historic opera house built in 1876 which cost 8200 to build at the time. It features comedies, musicals and debuts by leading Canadian playwrights.
You will also find artworks by local artists being displayed in the building.
The area is filled with many nice restaurants and is perfect for a night out. Reservations are highly recommended.
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