I’m going to tell you something really embarrassing: I haven’t been to the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in a long time.

I go to other cities, other countries, and I go visit their art galleries. Meanwhile, I’ve got Tom effing Thomson in my own back yard and it took the County of Grey to schedule one of their amazing Creative Mixer nights to get my butt there.

And I loved it.

I mean when you fill an art gallery with 150 young, cool, ambitious people from the area and add the music of Marshall Veroni, you’ve got the ingredients for a good night. I met some new Grey County residents who moved from Toronto to start an organic farm; I met film editors and tattoo artists; I met photographers, teachers, and researchers. I heard about some really cool projects in the works –  I wanted to meet the guy who’s starting a cricket farm in the area, but there was only so much time. And then the Coffin Ridge cider ran dry and it was time to leave.


But before I left, I did meet a fellow Great Lake surfer who just moved to the area with his partner, a veterinarian, so I’ve got a new surfing partner, which is always a bonus. And I met a fellow hiking/snowshoeing enthusiast, so I may have someone to hit the Bruce Trail with this fall/winter.

And isn’t that what’s so great about living in this area? The natural beauty all around us?

It’s one of the reasons people are moving here. I think the word might be getting out. And these Creative Mixers are not only a great way to welcome these young people to the area, but also for long-time residents to connect who don’t often get to.  So, well played Grey County – the TOM was a great choice! Looking forward to the next one for sure!

Words and photos by Jesse Wilkinson