I first heard of Windreach Farm a few years ago from a friend, who described it as a great accessible getaway about an hour North East of Toronto in Ashburn, Ontario. Windreach is a massive farm founded nearly 30 years ago by Scotsman and Equine Paralympian Alexander “Sandy” J. Mitchell “Born with cerebral palsy, Sandy has been able to integrate his personal passion with providing a similar opportunity for other persons with disabilities. His own past experience as a young man working on a farm in Scotland, and then in a farming community for persons with Down’s Syndrome, helped him realize that one day he wanted to help persons with disabilities lead a more productive life. Acquiring the property in 1979, Sandy worked the land, built the buildings, and welcomed visitors from all over the province”.
We booked from Saturday to Tuesday in mid-July at $140 a day (we actually left Monday night to avoid the 10 am check out time, which we later learned can be altered if needed) Booking was quite easy I just contacted Karina Oliver by email to figure out availability (obviously the earlier the better) and we were set. There are 3 apartments that can sleep 2 – 6 people all in one building with each unit having its own entrance. As we were a party of 3 we went with the 4 person Hummingbird suite, the apartment was very spacious with a fully accessible washroom (roll in shower, shower commode chair and Hoyer lift included) 2 electric hospital beds in the bedroom, full kitchen (and dishwasher), couches, TV / DVD (there is a small DVD library in the common area), Laundry facilities and a BBQ. Although it is a farm it is very much a home away from home, no roughing it here in terms of accommodation.
Windreach Farm is a working farm with many things to keep it self-sufficient like hay production, therapeutic riding programs, Bee Hives for Honey, Vegetable Gardens, an Orchard with dwarf Apple trees that can pick from a Wheelchair, Alpaca Wool, and fresh Chicken eggs. There all kinds of animals like….. Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Cows, Donkeys, Alpacas and more all eager to greet visitors and make new friends. I myself bonded with a Turkey who was quite happy to just sit at my feet.
|My buddy “Elvis” the Turkey|
There are lots of things to do while at Windreach from accessible Hay wagon rides and Swings, Feeding Animals in the Barn, a Boardwalk through a Marsh and a 1.3K pond to pond paved Trail cutting through fields with sheltered checkpoints offering spectacular views.
|Start of 1.3k trail|
|What lurks around the bend?|
My personal favourite spot was at the end of the trail, a bridge/fort type structure that spanned a valley and put you amongst the trees, with the sun shining through the trees and chirping birds made for a beautiful scene, so peaceful!!
A large portion of the Farm is devoted to Horses with very impressive Stables, a Show ring and Paddocks with many Beautiful horses, some that had competed in the Vancouver and Beijing Paralympics.
There is also a Century Barn / Museum, a sensory room, meeting spaces and more…
Overall I highly recommend Windreach farm as a great getaway for small or large groups, With its accessible accommodation, plenty of activities, natural surroundings, (Stars look at those Stars!!) and close proximity you won’t be disappointed…
Book your stay now!!
Oh and don’t get too close to the fire! :-p