It seems that over the summer, although we’ve had a fair number of adventures out in the great and wonderful outdoors, I haven’t had the opportunity to write and share with you as much as I might like about them.
Much of the reason you haven’t be able to read much for me stems from a large part due to anxiety and general mental-wellness issues that have raised their ugly, yet a real presence since July.
Nevertheless, taking a “spur of the moment” page from the “spur of the moment” book, we headed out after I finished work last Saturday, to check out the sunset from the harbour in Meaford and as well, to spend a few minutes visiting Beautiful Joe Park.
From several perspectives, our journey that Saturday night was a breakthrough. First, Beautiful Joe Park is a special place, as you’ll read, that we’ve wanted to go and see for quite a while. Secondly, who doesn’t like or love watching the sunset below the horizon over a large expanse of open water? Finally, given my recent mental-wellness issues, it would have been so much easier NOT to make a decision to head out to Meaford.
However, we made the decision to go …so a win-win-win from all three points.
Beautiful Joe Park
Beautiful Joe Park, located just off the main street in Meaford is a park to commemorate the life of “Beautiful Joe” and as well all things canine.
Beautiful Joe was a real dog from the town of Meaford, whose life inspired a bestselling 1893 novel entitled “Beautiful Joe.” The story of “Beautiful Joe” contributed heavily to the worldwide awareness of cruelty to animals.
The real Beautiful Joe was a medium-sized brown mixed dog who was originally owned by a local resident of Meaford who abused the animal with great cruelty, even to the point of death, cutting off his ears and tail.
A gentleman in Meaford by the name of Walter Moore rescued Beautiful Joe in 1890 from what would have been a violent and painful death. In 1892, a woman by the name of Margaret Marshall Saunders first found out about Beautiful Joe when she visited her brother and his wife(Louise) who was the daughter of Walter Moore the man who had rescued Joe.
Ms. Saunders was so touched by the story of Beautiful Joe’s life, she wrote a fictionalized full-length autobiographical novel of the dog’s life, entitling the novel “Beautiful Joe.” It was written from the perspective of Beautiful Joe telling his story, much in the same fashion as the novel Black Beauty.
In 1893, Saunders submitted her finished manuscript to a story writing contest run by the American Humane Society. It won and the next year it was published as a novel. The response to the novel was overwhelming. The novel and its subject matter received worldwide attention and was at that time the first Canadian novel to sell over a million copies. In fact, by the 1930’s it has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
In 1963, the official Beautiful Joe Park was opened in Meaford, located next to the Moore family house where Beautiful Joe was rehabilitated by Louise Moore. It is Beautiful Joe Park, where Joe’s final resting place is found.
Entrance to the park from the parking area.
A photograph of Beautiful Joe as part of a poster found at the park entrance.
Scattered throughout the park are a number of dog-related memorial locations.
Assistance Dog’s Memorial
Beloved Pet Memorial Plaques
For those who have lost a beloved poochie, their memory can be included in a pet memorial located in a beautiful wooded section of the park.
Obligatory “red chair” photo opportunity to capture a picture of yourself or someone else sitting beside “Beautiful Joe.”
These rocks are scattered throughout the gardens within the park. Many have the names of family pets on them, while many are painted and decorated with “Joe” on them.
K-9 Police Services Memorial
“Beautiful Joe’s” Final Resting Place
If you currently have a beloved pet or are missing one that has left you far too early, Beautiful Joe Park is a place to head to contemplate the life your precious pet has with or had with you. When visiting here, it is not to become emotional. A wonderful place to visit.
Meaford Harbour Sunset
A quick 5-minute drive brought us down to the harbour and waterfront, with hopes of catching a Georgian Bay sunset.
I think we succeeded.
As the sun finally dipped behind the horizon, we hopped back in our car for the leisurely but in addition knowing that we had spent a wonderful evening out.
Sometimes, regardless of what the circumstances may be or what trials or difficulties we may be facing for going through, often making a simple decision to get outdoors and getting away from the stress and such can be the best medicine possible.
If you’re in the vicinity, be sure to check out “Beautiful Joe Park”, and as well take a side trip down to the waterfront and the harbour. Make the harbour trip in the evening and be sure you stay long enough to capture a Georgian Bay sunset. You won’t be disappointed.