©Susan Smythe-Bishop 2022

Prince Edward County is a Magical Microcosm.

Thirteen years ago, my husband Tim and I bought our first home on this beautiful island situated in Eastern Ontario, Canada - and there has been no looking back.

Without the distractions from the noise and bustle of the city, it became much easier to really see and truly appreciate real life local celebrities - the many brave, inspiring, kind, creative and community-minded leaders and everyday heroes who are doing remarkable things. And because of that - in 2016, I randomly started doing caricatures of individuals who inspire me throughout the region, which grew into a really fun gratitude practice for me.

I can see clearly now that this practice was also a continuation of my ongoing quest for great leadership. It still is. These are the kind of celebrities that I want to spend the rest of my days with 😎.  

Like everywhere, this region is not perfect. I still get disheartened when I see negativity and intollerance from the community - mostly comments in community group social pages. But here, in this space that I can control - I choose to focus on what's positive. And there is a lot of positive, a lot to be grateful for. Prince Edward County is a very special region with wonderful residents and I feel honured to call this place home.

Below are a few recent profiles - there are many more to come. You can see the full collection to date here on my dedicated site called "County Characters" - where I house all of the illustrations celebrating these amazing people that I have done to date.

On another note! I am a very proud supporter of THRIVE Prince Edward County - a community-led development of a collaborative vision for the future of Prince Edward County. For more information on this initiative, please visit www.thrivepec.ca

Born and raised in Prince Edward County - Evan Nash is the third generation owner and president of the 115 year old Home Hardware located in Wellington, Ontario. He returned to PEC after living abroad in Sweden, though his passion for the community never waned. Read more about Evan here.

With Jo Barnes, it’s never just about the remarkable edible products she makes or her catering. Her focus, passion and joy stems from her collaborations and through forging partnerships throughout the community. That’s what drives her. To learn more about this fabulous woman, click here.

In 2019, Judith Burfoot founded the not-for-profit BIPOC-led All Welcome Here. According to a 2016 StatsCan census poll, 1,250 or 5% of PEC residents identify themselves as people of colour, and she rightly saw the need for the rural BIPOC population to have a space to connect and network. To learn more about Judith's incredible work, click here.

Maggie MacDonald is one of those people whose light shines SO brightly, and whose energy vibrates on such a positive frequency that you cannot help but feel better for simply crossing her path. And if you are lucky enough to have her serve you during your visit – consider your day made. For more about Maggie, click here.

Closson Chase Vineyards was one of the first vineyards in the region. I had the good fortune of working for two of the partners earlier in my career in entertainment - Seation McLean and Michael MacMillan who were, and still are, extraordinary leaders. Read more about that experience here.

Before moving permanently to Prince Edward County, Michèle Maheux left an indelible mark on the film scene, not only in Toronto but on a world scale. Formerly the executive director and COO of the Toronto International Film Festival, now Michèle shares her vast wisdom as a member of the board of the County Stage Company. Read more about Michèle here.

Cheynelle Fraser and Elisha Andrewsky made a pretty big splash when they opened their charming Creekside Café in Wellington in March, 2022. They saw the need for a brunch spot, and took the leap and we sure are glad they did. Read more about their adventure here.

Stephen and MaTTi Matyasfalvi literally found a silver lining and baked their way into the hearts of the residents of Prince Edward County in Ontario, Canada by opening a fabulous new baking business during the pandemic. Read more about this inspiring couple here.

Erin MacInnis is the lovely and inspiring General Manager of Closson Chase Vineyards - a company that I've written much about in the past for the simple reason that their leadership is second-to-none. Erin embodies all that you could hope to find in a leader. Read more about her here.