Hello! I’m Joe

About The Beautiful Joe Heritage Society

Thank you to my friends at the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society who have kept my story alive and who made my backyard into the unique place that celebrates the animal-human bond. It is a very historic park, and can you believe that it’s named after me!

Their vision is to make it an international tourist attraction and Heritage Site.

Projects & Objectives

The Society, formed in 1994, was originally called the Beautiful Joe Foundation. In 1997 the name legally changed to the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society, and their registered charity number is 88566 8236 RR0001.

The Society created a vision for Beautiful Joe Park at 162 Edwin Street in Meaford with pathways and monuments.

The goal was to promote my timeless story and that of author, Margaret Marshall Saunders – a woman ahead of her time

TOURISM! Other Canadian communities have benefitted from celebrations of great stories / characters / authors – such as Cavendish, PEI for Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery); Whitehorse, YT for The Cremation of Sam McGee (Robert Service); and Orillia, ON for Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (Stephen Leacock) to name a few. The Society, and many others, believe my story is unique and should be celebrated in this wonderful community of Meaford and beyond. They also want to make my park an international tourist attraction for animal lovers and those who enjoy a good tale – with some history thrown in!

They’ve held lots of fund-raisers, pet-related events and there have even been 2 plays about me.


1994 - The 1st task was to reprint Beautiful Joe

It was nearly out of print and it was important for the Society to do this, especially on the book’s 100th anniversary of publication! Later, Beautiful Joe‘s Paradise (written in 1902) was reprinted.

The name Beautiful Joe was trademarked
The name Beautiful Joe was trademarked in North America by the Municipality of Meaford through the influence of the Society.
5 monuments and 2 Paradise Islands were designed and installed in Beautiful Joe Park
All monuments were the creation of Gunter Neumann (1937-2018), a founding member of the Society.
2011 – With accessibility as the main focus, a feasibility study was done to define the needs, criteria and costs for a pedestrian bridge across the Bighead River.
The sloped driveway to the Park is not accessible for mobility devices (scooters, rollators, etc.); tour buses cannot navigate and turn around once in the parking lot.
Raised $9000, which was half the cost of the Leash Free Park on Grant Avenue.
A proper walking tour for Beautiful Joe Park was designed and a portable amplification system was purchased in 2018

This enables the Society to conduct tours of up to about 50 people (without social distancing). The organized walking tour introduces:

  • my story
  • the author
  • a summary of each of the monuments
  • the past, present and future of the Park
  • those who made it all possible including my friends at the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society
  • some anecdotes of how my life and my park have impacted others
With the assistance of government grants, studies were also done
  • on the viability of purchasing the Moore Home (to which I was rescued)
  • to compile further accurate information on Margaret Marshall Saunders and her life and legacy
Meaford Hall

Productions, Presentations and Awards

In June of 1994 – Rob McLean of Owen Sound, wrote and directed a theatrical production called Beautiful Joe – A Dog’s Life and even included music written by McLean as well. The play was performed at The Meaford Opera House (now known as Meaford Hall)

2014 Beautiful Joe (the play) by Michael O’Brien was presented by Grey-Bruce Arts Collective in association with Beautiful Joe Heritage Society. It too was performed at Meaford Hall and ran from May 14-May 17

In 2018 – My friends at the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society were recognized by the Meaford Chamber of Commerce and they were presented with their Tourism Award

Past Events & Unique Fundraisers

“Share in the Shearing”
“Share in the Shearing” in April 2002, brought co-chair Michael Biggins to an antique barber chair to cut his shoulder-length hair. It raised $1400 towards the ceremony for the 9-11 monument unveiling the following month. Also, Michael’ s hair was donated to the Canadian Cancer Society to make wigs.
Autumn Adventure / Family Fun Day
Autumn Adventure / Family Fun Day brought lots out to the park for entertainment by Superdogs, Ultimutts, OPP Canine demonstrations, dog trainers, vendors and lots more
Jazz for Joe
Strut your Mutt / Pet Idol / Dog Days of Winter
Blessing of the Animals
Bottle Drives
Sale of Pooch Neckwear

As a unique fund-raiser starting in 2019, custom pooch neckwear was made by volunteers and sold – often by donation.  Rather than purchasing supplies, a plea went out to our generous community for fabric, elastic, ribbon, thread, etc. and we were richly rewarded!   And then Covid-19 struck.  Instead of pooch neckwear, in April 2020, we switched to creating fabric masks from this donated material.  Over $4,000 was raised in 2020 during Covid19 through the sale of these fabric masks.

Annual Pooch Pool Party
Annual Pooch Pool Party at Meaford’s Blue Dolphin Pool on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend. Competitions, prizes and lots of splashy fun
Friends of Beautiful Joe Pet Poster Campaigns
In partnership with the Municipality of Meaford, we had the ‘Friends of Beautiful Joe Pet Poster Campaigns’ in 2015 and again in 2018 featuring my follower’s pets. Many were local, but others entered when they read about it in our monthly BarkOut E-Newsletter. These large, colourful and light-hearted posters brought smiles to the sidewalks of Meaford and area – and got people talking about me and my park! People loved it and some shops still put these posters in their windows.

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