The view was impossible to leave. The farm’s been in the family for centuries. The valley needed me to paint it. The people here don’t care what you do, just who you are. Just a few of the reasons we’ve heard why people have made Headwaters their home. You’ll hear many more. Where Ontario gets real.
“Souvenir” means memory, to remember. Translated, it’s what you bring back, in a bag, your mind, your heart. And up here, the things that are in peoples’ hearts and minds, the passions of our pie bakers and stone wallers, artists of the horseshoe and of the canvas, and pretty much everyone else, are literally everywhere you look. So there just might be too much to bring back, making repeat trips essential. You might bring back something unique, like sandals from the Orangeville shop so original that women drive four hours to shop at it. It could be an image of the vast, haunting windmills just north of Shelburne, or that old-fashioned swimming hole that a Mulmur farmer built on her farm, to give her kids a real country childhood. The green Mennonite roofs, the blue goat cheese, the barnwood floor of a General Store, the bracing smell of high-altitude, clean air. The real. That’s what you’ll bring back, every time.
While you’re taking in all the big, impressive things up here—the mills and waterfalls, the landforms and rockfaces, the art on a canvas and the art on your dinner plate—don’t overlook the not-so-epic things. The streets and houses, the trees and stores, and the people. Because that might just be what you take home.
Shopping in Headwaters is a breath of fresh, independent, anything but the same-old air. Our shops are filled with creative finds and personal touches, and you’ll almost always meet the owners. Chris and Stephanie run Brighten Up in Erin, an old-fashioned, little-brain-growing toy store. Kathie’s behind the funky footwear at Shoe Kat Shoo in Orangeville, where many styles are made just for them. Any true country visit has to include an authentic farm store, like TSC for lawnmowers and long-johns, or Budson Farm and Feed in Erin, where you’ll find farm gear, feed, and two very tall firefighters, Alf and David Budweth, who run the place.
Our plan, of course, is to keep you here, at least for the night. People love Erin’s Devonshire Guest House and Spa for its 1856 Victorian perfection and its exclusive spa; it feels like its all yours. While it’s a little newer, the beds at the Best Western in Orangeville are raved about. You can even sleep outdoors at Albion Hills Conservation Area and Campground, Caledon, under our incomparable stars. There’s always a place for your head, your trailer, your tent, and your horse somewhere up here.
Just wander. Read our newspapers. Walk our streets, and look for the heritage plaques on our houses. Pop into any thrift store, for the oddest odds and ends. Wave at people when you’re driving and when you’re not. Say hello. Slow down. It’s country time.