Before heading off to my next sunny and warm turquoise destination I challenged myself to experience as many winter activities as possible to share with others what a true Canadian winter is all about. I started my winter bucket list experiences in Nova Scotia for Christmas celebrations with family and friends, then traveled to New Brunswick for the New Year festivities, and finally landed in Ontario to experience an abundance of authentic and fun winter activities. My first stop in Ontario was Dream Acres Alpacas in Matheson, Ontario to visit the Alpacas and tour the farm. The moment I stepped onto the property the alpacas all stopped what they were doing and curiously gazed in my direction.
As soon as I laid eyes on the intriguing animals I completely forgot about the cold. I’ve never encountered a more curious and friendly animal than the alpaca. I got to visit with all of the females (and one young boy who wasn’t yet big enough to go in with the big boys). Some were friendlier then others, but a few were brave enough to get right in my face to get a good sniff and lick. Although some were timid, they still wanted to be an arms length away so they could get a good look too. If I held my hand out and remained still many would approach me for a sniff. Gary and Jo-Anne’s alpacas are extraordinary as their curiosity and inquisitiveness is not the norm for an alpaca. The up-close and personal approach Gary and Jo-Anne use to raise their alpacas fosters a level of comfort for the alpacas when they are around people. Gary and Jo-Anne love their alpacas unconditionally as if they were their own “children”. The alpacas love visitors and they were thrilled when I stopped in to see them–the stars of the show.
Gary and Jo-Anne’s dream of owning a farm and making 100% Canadian-made quality alpaca products became their reality. Gary and Jo-Anne started their farm with a mere 9 male alpacas, but their farm continued to grow with each year. They’ve been able to experience a handful of miraculous births of crias (baby alpacas) on their farm. Some of their babies were even hand-reared by Jo-Anne herself because they were born premature. Dream Acres Alpacas currently has 32 alpacas (babies included) on their property of over 100 acres. They educate the surrounding communities about alpacas and the process involved in making alpaca products. They encourage anyone who is interested to visit their farm for a tour or to try out their products which they sell on site at the farm or at surrounding community markets and shopping centers. Not only that, their farm also has 36 laying hens and offer farm fresh, free range brown eggs for purchase. Dream Acres Alpacas is the epitome of what community is all about: celebrating what’s local, sharing, and caring. Visiting the farm was a breath of fresh air.
The alpacas are currently growing out their fleeces while Jo-Anne and her partners spend the winter busily making yarn, knitting, crocheting, and weaving in preparation for upcoming events and the spring season. The majority of items are hand woven and much love goes into making the products. Dream Acres Alpacas takes pride in their products with them being made with 80-90% alpaca fleece. Dream Acres Alpacas wastes none of the alpaca fleece, but finds a purpose for each type. Jo-Anne informed me that too much love goes into growing the fleece that she can’t bear any of it going to waste. Many of the products in her home are made with alpaca fleece.
Jo-Anne knows her animals so well that she can tell you what products were made from which alpaca based on the texture and colour. No alpaca product is the same, each is unique with its own design, texture, colour, shape, and feel. Each product uses a different kind of fleece (from different parts of the alpaca), and if there isn’t a product for that particular type of fleece, she’ll find a use for it. Alpaca fleece is known to be hypoallergenic, non-irritating (not itchy), and warmer than other whools/fleeces.
When I tried out my new mittens made of 80% alpaca fleece while hiking throughout the farm property trails my hands were kept toasty warm throughout the afternoon. It’s warmer than any other product I’ve used.
Their alpaca fleece products include:
- Hats & Headbands
Mittens & Gloves (paca paws)
Scarves & Shawls
Blankets & Duvets
Other specialty products and items made to order
Dream Acres Alpacas is the perfect winter activity! The alpacas are eagerly awaiting visitors. Meeting the curious alpacas is the perfect way to forget about the cold temperatures. The alpacas might even want to go for a walk with you throughout the groomed trails on the farm. Better yet, bring your snow shoes with you to go snow shoeing after your personalized tour of the farm. During the winter months Gary and Jo-Anne are able to accommodate guests and customize visits. Contact Dream Acres Alpacas on their Facebook Page to book a tour or buy products! There is no better season to buy alpaca products to keep you warm throughout the remaining months of winter.
*Media Coverage for Dream Acres Alpacas