Small Canada town named after Ceylon Tea

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Ceylon Ontario is home to Canada's first female Member of Parliament Agnes MacPhail.  Pictures by Mahesh Abeyewardene

Ceylon Ontario is home to Canada's first female Member of Parliament Agnes MacPhail. Pictures by Mahesh Abeyewardene

A short jaunt from Toronto, Grey County has plenty to offer

Years ago, tea held sway, powerful enough to change a name of a town. During the late 1800s mail was confused between Flesherton rail station and Flesherton town. In 1899, it was decided the station

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would be named Ceylon.The name was coined through a parcel of Ceylon tea sitting on the shelf of a grocery store. Today, the railway line no longer runs through Ceylon in Grey County, it was replaced by a scenic trail.

Within a short one and half hour drive from Toronto, (even closer if you live in Brampton), you can explore Grey County and enjoy all the trappings of life in a friendly and scenic environment.

The laid back atmosphere is refreshing from Toronto, as you drive through farms, residents mowing their lawns will wave at you. One farmer sitting on his tractor alongside his pet dog was a memorable scene.

“No one asks you what you do for a living here,” says renowned artist Beverley Smith who moved into the county during the 1980s.

Renowned artist Beverly Smith is a long-time resident of Grey County.

Renowned artist Beverly Smith is a long-time resident of Grey County.

Tools of the trade: Inside Holy Crow Beads in Grey County.

Tools of the trade: Inside Holy Crow Beads in Grey County.

She runs Holy Crow Beads and is renowned for her work in Uganda, where she helped train hundreds of people in the art of beading. Many of these Ugandans suffered years of conflict and HIV. Smith says she was shocked when one woman named her child after her as sign of gratitude.

Traveling through the county, you can experience up to eight waterfalls, some are more family friendly while a few are oriented towards able bodied hikers. Grey County is also home to world class biking trails for all levels of cyclists.

Grey County is home to eight water falls: Hoggs Falls in Flesherton.

Grey County is home to eight water falls: Hoggs Falls in Flesherton.

Eugina Falls

Eugenia Falls

Hiking Eugenia Falls Conservation Area.

Hiking at Eugenia Falls Conservation Area.

Driving itself is a treat for the eyes, as you wind through the Beaver Valley, and you can stop by the Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery. Inside the 1870s post and beam barn, you can try their new refreshing ginger flavoured cider paired with a tray of artisan cheeses.

Beaver Valley Cidery.

Beaver Valley Cidery.

Closer to the town of Ceylon in Flesherton, it is recommended you pick up a sandwich at the Leslieville Cheese Market famed for their authentic grilled cheese sandwiches. Incidentally Ceylon had a fervor to launch female politicians, the small hamlet of Ceylon, Ontario was home to Canada’s first female Member of Parliament,Agnes Campbell Macphail elected in 1935. In 1960, Ceylon, the country, elected Sirimavo Bandaranike as the
worlds’ first female Prime Minister. She went on to change the name of the country from Ceylon to the Republic of Sri Lanka.

Where to Stay: Eugenia Falling Waters Bed and Breakfast

Where to Eat: The BruceWine Bar, Thornbury