Events & Stories
Since 1973, my close personal connection with clay has been a perfect mirror for discovering my creative voice. Self-taught has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as a potter without preconceived ideas or conflicts. It is only recently that I have a profound simplistic knowing that for me the concept of being a successful potter is to find myself still filled with a sense of wonderment and joy that working in clay has continuously given me since the first time that my hands touched clay.
I truly believe through the creative force that inspires me to create pots and the joy that I experience through process is somehow transposed into each finished clay pot that I create.
My visual inspirations began with a simple need to press leaves and ferns into clay. Today I find myself inspired by ancient rock art, symbols, animal silhouettes which add new dimensions of feelings & emotions to clay form.
Although born & raised in Toronto finding my true home, here in Bird's Creek has given me the most perfect place to be who I am & everything necessary to create from the heart.
Welcome to the Maynooth & Hastings Highlands Business Association (MHHBA). Our member businesses located in the unique towns and hamlets that make up Hastings Highlands are Certified Wander Friendly! You are invited to join us in experiencing the diversity, beauty and community spirit of Hastings Highlands! Start with our website or our Discovery Guide booklet. Then drop in, get to know us and buy local! We look forward to seeing you soon and serving your business and tourism needs! Let's begin by sharing a few of our stories.
Lakes. Trees. Rocks. The escape from stress. Meeting like-minded souls. These are the reasons I first visited Maynooth over 30 years ago, and why I now live just outside of Maynooth and have opened a gallery in the centre of town. Many an artist—from A.J. Casson and A.Y. Jacksoon of the Group of Seven, David Milne, and our many local artists and visitors from all around the world have been inspired by the beauty of the area, and the warmth of the town. Art galleries and antique stores, many in century buildings make this 1861 Hamlet an inspirational destination. Home is where the heart is, welcome home to Maynooth.
On a rainy Saturday last March, we drove into town and were delighted to find that not only was there an amazing indoor market at the Municipal Building, but an equally amazing event called Seedy Saturday at the Community Centre. Witnessing the incredible community spirit, friendliness and awareness of these Maynooth-ites, while eating Opal’s Chocolate Avocado Pie, I knew in my heart that, some day, some way, I would live here.
In town again on a sunny day last May: visiting shops with my girlfriend, we happened in to the Potter’s Studio owned by Karen Gray. As I stepped inside, I was powerfully moved by the beautiful, positive vibe of the place. “What a fantastic space” I said. To which Karen, smiling sweetly, replied, “It’s for sale…”
Fast forward to February of this year. The house is mine. I’ve set up my dream studio, with the gallery to open soon. My signs aren’t up yet, but my place will be called Black Spruce Art Works. I couldn’t be happier.
As a professional painter and a person who cares passionately about the environment, Maynooth offers the perfect complement of qualities important to both my career and my well being: I’m within the landscape that so influences my work; I can enjoy a genuinely down-to-earth, connected and healthy existence; and have the most beautiful, characterful home in which to paint and sell my work. I am astonished and moved at the level of support, engagement and energy here, and I adore this artistic, funky and very grounded community. And I cannot wait to get my bike on the road here!
My love affair with Maynooth began about three years ago. I’m a visual artist from Toronto, and a long time motorcyclist. My boyfriend Timothy and I had decided to spend a few days using a friend’s cottage in Gooderham as a base from which to explore the marvelous twisty roads of Haliburton and Madawaska on our bikes. At the end of the terrifically fun Peterson Road, we “discovered” Maynooth, and decided to lunch at the SunRun Café. I was smitten! The combo of friendly, down-to-earth people and surprisingly sophisticated food and coffee got us hooked.
Over the next couple years, whether we were in the area with motorcycles or car, a visit to the SunRun was a must.
Since 1989, Maynooth Madness is a community event that has become synonymous with the end of summer and Labour Day weekend. It began as a modest trunk sale held in the parking lot at the Old Community Centre on Hwy. 62. The attendance of 400 people in the first year increased with the addition of the Loggers' Games, peaking a few years ago at 5,000 people.
Friday night Bingo at the ANAF brought in people from as far away as Belleville. Saturday’s crowded Farmers' Market and loggers' displays found in the privately donated field, drew people from near and far. The 10 a.m. parade kicked off festivities. Over the years, the parade grew into a 30-minute moving celebration through the downtown core acknowledging the community’s history, heritage and logging tradition.
After 23 years, the focus of Maynooth Madness has transitioned from the Loggers’ Games to the Farmers' Market, children’s programs, the Mud Dawgs, and a music festival. Children’s activities are popular and have included a dunk tank, inflatable activities like Bouncey Castles, a petting zoo, crafts area, balloon man, stilt walker, and face painting. Members of the public school parents' group and the North Hastings Children’s Centre staff have run children’s activities.
Other featured activities have included everything from bands and beer gardens, to vintage automobile contests, art exhibitions, horticultural shows, photographic displays, historic walking tours, wagon rides, hot air balloon rides, buskers and early displays of solar lighting and alternative energy sources, such as underground heating.
The Mud Dawgs is a competitive mud event which attracts over 1,000 people on Sunday. It is followed by St. Ignatius’ fabulous turkey and ham dinner that is enjoyed by 600 to 1000 people. Other church congregations offer luncheons and afternoon teas, rummage and yard sales and raise funds for their ongoing needs. Also, the Maynooth & Area Food Bank and HART (a dog rescue organization) are just two of many charities that raise funds through raffles and draws held that same weekend.
The people who have kept this community event alive are all volunteers. As part of MHHBA’s Maynooth Madness Committee, these volunteers oversee all of the weekend’s events and spend countless hours holding spaghetti dinners, BBQ’s, raffles and more to raise funds to ensure Maynooth Madness continues every year. MHHBA works in partnership with the Municipality of Hastings Highlands to support the passionate efforts of this dedicated Committee.
Hippies met loggers and cottagers met villagers. Who would have guessed that a community event like this one would be the foundation for a coming together of our diverse Hastings Highlands communities and help to establish downtown Maynooth as a viable artistic centre? So now what!?! This Labour Day weekend, join us for this fabulous event and become part of shaping it for the years to come.