North Country

enRoute, October 2007
Hidden just out of sight, sitting on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, Creemore is the small-town ideal to which so many cookie-cutter communities aspire. Fortunately, some things – like fresh, frosty lager from Creemore Springs Brewery – can never be replicated. Here, two cafés – the Bank and Affairs – duke it out for the title of best cinnamon bun. On Saturdays from Victoria Day until Thanksgiving (and once in December), locals convene at the Station on the Green for the farmers’ market, where they share gossip, make dinner plans and pick up provisions, like raisin-walnut baguettes, focaccia and organic sourdough from Eigensinn Farm. “When I arrive on Friday, I’m wound up from the week,” says one Torontonian weekender. “When I leave on a Sunday, I feel like I’m on a whole different planet.”
Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay, about 40 minutes from town, right on Georgian Bay, was co-designed by PGA pro Tom Lehman and Thomas McBroom. Golf past a century-old barn on the 11th hole, and if you get hungry, pluck an apple from the orchard near the 13th and 14th holes. To avoid the bunkers, head straight to the 19th hole – the Raven Grill – for pancetta-topped burgers and Bloody Caesars.
We joined Carl “Crusty” Cosack, the trail boss at Rawhide Adventures, for a cattle drive at the 1,500-acre ranch Peace Valley Ranch, just south of town. The days here are tough, but it’s a small price for therapy. “When you figure it out about horses,” Crusty told us, “you end up figuring out a lot about yourself.”
Situated in one of the town’s oldest residences, a 19th century red-brick two-storey house, Creemore House Inn is a bed and breakfast that feels like a boutique hotel. Owner Chris Millsap offers the usual luxuries: plasma-screen TVs, chiropractic beds and a beautiful pool. But the inn stands out for its simple pleasures: a breakfast of strong coffee, fresh fruit and still-warm pastries on the terrace.
Mad & Noisy Gallery, named for the rivers that border Creemore, is a co-op run by about 40 artists. The gallery shows everything from painting and sculpture to glass and pottery, and hosts intimate concerts from January to June. (We caught a show by folk-rockers Claire Jenkins Avec Band.
When Molson bought Creemore Springs Brewery in 2005, lovers of the brewer’s signature unpasteurized lager – made with water carted daily from a nearby spring – feared that the beer would change. It didn’t, and the brewery remains decidedly small-town. We were handed samples within seconds of arriving.
Little girls love stories about horses. It’s a maxim that Catherine Randall of Curiosity House Books & Gallery knows well. Along with her carefully curated selection of books for adults, her extensive kids’ area includes a shelf devoted to horse fiction. She also hosts regular events, including a book club and a knitting group.

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