Where did Meaford get its name?
The day before yesterday, Mike, of A Bit About Britain (a great blog if you're interested in British history), commented that Meaford sounded like an English name. He was right. Before Meaford was actually established, in the 1830's, the area was known as St. Vincent, after a British navy hero, John Jervis, 1st Earl of St. Vincent, who became First Lord of the Admiralty. He was named Earl of St. Vincent because of his victory over the Spanish in the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in Portugal, in 1797 - bit of a Spanish connection there too.
Early settlers petitioned to have land set aside for a harbour at the mouth of the Bighead River, and the surveyor Charles Rankin laid out a townsite there. He called it Meaford because the Earl of St. Vincent was born in Meaford Hall, Staffordshire, England in 1735. The house still exists. All the names of townships in southern Ontario seem to be named after the British upper class!
Until recently the rural area west of Meaford was still St. Vincent Township. In 2001 the provincial government forced amalgamation on rural areas, so St. Vincent, the town of Meaford and the next township west, Sydenham, were amalgamated into the Municipality of Meaford. We now have the strange situation where 'Meaford' is still used by 99% of the population to refer to the town itself, but officially it refers to the much larger political municipality which includes the large rural area between the town Meaford, and the city of Owen Sound. (By the way, Sydenham was named after another Brit, Charles Thompson, the 1st Baron Sydenham, first Governor Governor of Canada).
That's just some extra history for you Mike. The story of how surveyors named so much of rural southern Ontario after British Lords of the 17th and 18th centuries, must be an interesting one. I will look to see if I can find a Scottish connection!