Creemore community featured in Sarah Off the Grid
For Sarah Richardson fans, and just about everyone in Creemore who is even a bit of a nosy parker, the day is nigh. Richardson’s new show is going to air in just a few days.
Sarah Off the Grid Season 2, a six-episode series, begins Sunday. The Episode 1 synopsis: “Sarah Richardson’s forever home in Creemore is finished but instead of taking a much deserved break, she’s jumped head first into a new project. Along with her husband Alex and long-time collaborator Tommy, Sarah’s snapped up a century-old Victorian house in original condition… and her plan is to tear down, build up and transform it into the perfect all-season luxury vacation property. Sarah has just six months until the booming rental season hits and to make things extra challenging, she’s taking it off the grid!”
In Season 1, Richardson and her team builds a fully off-the-grid home in the hills. This next house is on the grid but it has eight solar panels, battery back-up, and is made as energy efficient as possible.
“The panels will run a huge amount of consumption from the house,” said Richardson. “In the case of a power outage, the house would be able to run off the grid for up to four days.”
She said there was a focus this season on reusing and recycling as much as they could.
The village of Creemore features heavily in the show, with Richardson and her family taking in local events, shopping, dining and visiting locals. In fact, Episode 2 airing April 28, shows Richardson’s daughters running a yard sale during the Creemore Vintage Festival, where they sold off old stuff from their barn, and then heading to Cardboard Castles toy store to spend their earnings.
She said she loves Creemore for its proximity to Toronto and the different routes that are available when heading north, giving the family many opportunities to explore.
“I still run my office in Toronto, obviously, and my children are at school here but in our minds we live equally in both places and we try to stretch the time there as much as we can. Quite frankly, we are counting down until we can be there full-time,” Richardson told The Echo.
She said the four-season activities, the natural beauty and small-town living are all part of appeal.
Richardson said everybody and everything Creemore will be featured in the new series.
Local residents had the privilege of a sneak peek of the heritage home at the 217 Mill Street that is featured in Season 2 of Sarah Off the Grid. A strict cell phone ban was in place so we couldn’t leak pictures of the transformation that will be unveiled throughout the series.
Richardson said she hopes some of that footage makes it to the screen but ultimately the network controls the final editing process.
“It was important to me to give everybody the chance [to see it]. It was a labour of love, it had nothing to do with financial upside. It was not a good investment but I wanted to make sure everybody would have the opportunity to tour through because I knew they were curious. It gave the town the opportunity to see it and it was important to me to give back so we had everybody pay and we donated the funds to Purple Hills Arts and Heritage Society for programs for kids,” she said.
Richardson said for the first six months they were making a television show with the idea that the house could be used as a rental but after the filming was complete, as locals know, the house was listed and sold.
“I hope that everybody thinks it’s a benefit for the town to raise awareness about how great it is and what it has to offer,” said Richardson. “One thing Alex and I and the kids love about Creemore is that it worked hard to retain its authenticity and to be a great village. I think that’s so important and I want to be a good ambassador for it… It’s really about trying to share the idea with an international community about the value of small towns, historic houses and thinking about how to live sympathetically with the environment.”
As much as she would like to make more television shows in Creemore, she said three may be the limit. In addition to Sarah Off the Grid, Season 3 of Sarah’s House (her first farmhouse) was also filmed in the area.
Season 2 of Sarah off the Grid premieres Sunday, April 21 at 9 p.m. on HGTV Canada.