Located south of Thornbury and west of Collingwood, off of the Kolapore Trail you will find the Kolapore Springs Fish Hatchery on a little piece of paradise. Business partners Bruce Green and Sean Brady have built their fish farming business over the past years in operation to provide for not only local grocery stores and restaurants in south Georgian Bay, but also in the GTA. The property was originally started by a Collingwood family the Livingston’s in 1963 and they are who built the fish hatchery and cabins on the property. They thought it would be a fantastic place to grow trout due to the great cold water supply, and clearly Sean and Bruce agree!
Sean was a home builder in Toronto for 25 years and he then decided to move to Thornbury on a whim. It was while his home in Thornbury was being built that he first found out about the hatchery. One of the builders took him on a tour of the area that took them through the old fish hatchery that also happened to be for sale. Sean fell in-love with its natural beauty and bought the property with the original plan of turning it into a living residence. Sean tells me that his business partner Bruce, who lives in Heathcote, had long had a connection with the property having spent time there growing up and that it was him who convinced Sean to convert it back into a fish hatchery together. Although Sean had never had an invested interest in fish farming specifically, he had always loved the idea of farming in general, and with the beautiful land he had bought, they started their business venture together. The fishery has now been operational again since 2009 and has found great success.
Kolapore Springs organically farms speckled, brown, and rainbow trout. The fish swim in 100 x 10 x 4ft deep spring fed raceways and are harvested using dip nets. Sean and Bruce along with their five employees maintain the hatchery and process all of the fish onsite. With this smaller scale business, the employees have the ability to pay more attention to detail, and monitor the quality of the fish much more than large scale producers. With Kolapore Springs buyers can request the type of trout, and size that they would like and will be receiving fish from either that day or the day before with the guarantee that it is as fresh as you can get it and of good quality. Moreover, Kolapore Springs also does pond stocking with their trout. If you would like to stock yours ponds the spring is the perfect time, and you can request the types of trout you would like and how much. With the small business personal touches, Kolapore Springs works hard to guarantee the best quality fish possible in all ways that they provide it.
Furthermore, with such a naturally beautiful property, Kolapore Springs is an amazing destination to host events. One of the most successful and well known events they have hosted is the premier culinary food event Feast in the Forest. At this event up to and even exceeding 30 local businesses and businesses from Toronto set up stations on the trails that thread throughout the fish hatchery’s property. Attendees stroll through the trails to come upon different restaurant and beverage companies with different products to try all with live music throughout the property. Up to 500 people attended the event in 2015 with about 100 hiking up the Kolapore Trail to arrive for the feast. Sunday May 15th marked the 5th annual Feast in the Forest and they are added something special to the event. The night before on Saturday May 14th, 100 lucky people had the opportunity to attend what Sean told me was “a magical night: a sit down dinner provided by Shaun Edmunstone of the Bruce Wine Bar and his fine team with live music and dancing to follow”. Tickets are available for this years annual event at www.feastintheforest.com
Sean tells me that moving forward he would like to maintain great service and the fresh, delicious, wholesome fish that they provide that he is so passionate about. In speaking with him, I can tell that he has a very strong passion for the land and for his business, and with that I have no doubt in my mind that Kolapore Springs will continue to provide the best and freshest fish around!