‘Big heart’ town of Creemore truly lives up to its Irish name

Visit for the friendly folks, fun attractions and bucolic surroundings

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Published in Hamilton Spectator in May 2014

Creemore may be best known for its specialty beer, but there are plenty of other attractions in addition to its celebrated amber brew to draw you to this small town in Simcoe County, 90 minutes north of Toronto.

For starters, the drive there is as picturesque as a Tuscany postcard, taking you along huge rolling hills, past farmland strewn with massive bales of hay and through quaint hamlets such as Avening and Mulmer.

Nestled in the valley of the delightfully-named Mad and Noisy Rivers, Creemore has become a draw for tourists and city folks with country homes, as well as affluent retired professionals, but it maintains a laid-back pace where local farmers and townsfolk mix with the weekend visitors.

Harrowsmith magazine named Creemore one of the "10 prettiest towns in Canada," which makes it a perfect spot for a Mother's Day getaway.

When my two teenage daughters and I visited on a recent spring weekend, we took in everything the town has to offer - its main street is just a few blocks long but it packs in plenty of diverse dining options, unique specialty shops, arts and crafts courtesy of the many artisans in town, a bustling farmers' market and an awful lot of friendly folks.

One of them is our host, Randall Munger, proprietor of the elegant Creemore House Inn, conveniently located just steps from the town's shops and restaurants. Munger lives in Toronto during the week but has been coming to Creemore on the weekends for decades and recently purchased and renovated the inn, which features four spacious suites and an outdoor heated pool.

His B&B is located right across the street from the historic St. John's United Church, where we attend a Sunday morning service and are greeted like long-lost relatives.

One of the parishioners vigorously shakes our hands and tells us that she had spotted us in the town's bookstore the day before. "We really hope you'll come back again," she says, as if she really means it.

Creemore comes from the Irish "Croí Mór," meaning "big heart." The town certainly lives up to its name.

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