In 1963, the Town of Meaford donated 8.5 acres of land along the picturesque Bighead River and adjacent to the Moore estate, for the creation of Beautiful Joe Park. The grave of Beautiful Joe can be found in the park and was designated as a historical site by the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario in the same year. In November 2017 a foot stone was added to his burial site by the Society.
In 1994, the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society was formed to preserve honour and showcase the life of their local canine hero Beautiful Joe. The Society promotes the literary and humane achievements of the author of the story “Beautiful Joe”, Margaret Marshall Saunders (1861-1947), who was able to give a voice to Meaford‘s beloved dog.
The Beautiful Joe Heritage Society is working towards establishing an international tourist attraction and heritage site that promotes the ethics and values of the Beautiful Joe story written by Margaret Marshall Saunders.
In order that the Society and Park can continue to thrive, we have certain goals that need to be met. These goals are multi-faceted and require many hands and funds to reach fruition:
- Establish the Beautiful Joe Park and Museum as a premier year-round international tourist attraction for animal lovers from around the world.
- Honour those animals who have demonstrated outstanding interaction with their human counterparts.
- Promoting a place for people and their pets to visit and, for those who have lost their companion, an opportunity to remember them with a personalized memorial plaque, which will be respectfully placed on "islands" throughout the park and their story shared on our website.
- The expansion and beautification of the existing park and historical site, including the construction of a footbridge across the Bighead River and enhancement of the park entrance to allow for a fully accessible entrance and washrooms.
- Construct a new pavilion to provide meeting, performance and educational facilities.
- Provide further web-based options for recognizing and memorializing pets.
- Develop specifically, a canine website that will provide links to international canine sites.
The BJHS Board of Directors are responsible for:
- Defining the overall objectives of the Society, its policies, procedures and organization.
- Being accountable for the use and application of funds and setting budgets.
- Issuing necessary reports and progress information in a timely manner.
- Reporting to Council, Partners and "Friends of Beautiful Joe".