Tom Graham

Tom Graham

Monday, 27 March 2023 18:44

Songwood Gallery

Thursday, 16 March 2023 21:37



Welcome to Songwood

Bishop's Mills, Ontario

Songwood is 88 acres of oldfield-farm-turned Managed Forest, backing onto hundreds of acres of County land, part of Limerick Forest. It sits on the traditional territory of the Anishnabek and Haudenosaunee Peoples. We say “miigwech” and “niá:wen” to thank them and other Indigenous Peoples for taking care of this land from time immemorial and for sharing the land with those of us who are newcomers. Songwood has been an FSC-certified forest since 2006.

About Songwood

Originally on the shores of the Champlain Sea after the last Ice Age departed approximately 10,000 years ago, this land reflects the geology of the Grenville Limestone Plain that makes up much of eastern Ontario. After centuries as part of the borderlands between the Algonquin and Iroquois native peoples, the land was surveyed by European settlers in 1791, but the ground conditions were so poor that the first settler did not occupy this property until the mid-1850’s.

Over the next century, the land was cleared and farming was attempted. But because of the shallow soil and wet conditions, the land was not good for farming. By the 1950’s, the fields in the southern end of the property were abandoned, allowing the pioneer varieties of plants and trees to once again spring up.

In 1969, the Graham family purchased the property and began the process of introducing suitable tree seedlings to abandoned fields, to aid in habitat regeneration for wildlife. The only harvesting of the farm’s trees is for firewood, to aid in the development of a healthy ecosystem, and to maintain the trails by which to enjoy nature.

In 2006, the property received FSC certification based on our sustainable forest management approach. Today, we are a proud member of the Ontario Woodlot Association.

planting songwood
cabin songwood

The Studio

In 1980, we helped my brother James build a small cabin in the woods, pouring the concrete slab foundation and using local building materials. From the beginning, it had a stove for heating and cooking, an insulated living area and sleeping loft. Outside there was a small garden carved out of the surrounding forest.

Today, we offer the cabin as a studio retreat, to provide a space to withdraw into nature for a bit, to embrace a little forest therapy. It’s also a place for our five children and eight grandchildren to come home to.

We hope you enjoy your stay.

Book through AirBNB

The Forest Trails

Songwood is 88 acres of oldfield-farm-turned Managed Forest, butting onto hundreds of acres of County land, part of Limerick Forest. It is home to dozens of species of wildlife, including wild turkey, white-tailed deer and other mammals, plants, shrubs and trees. It also provides habitat for a variety of interior forest species of birds, and contributes to the quality of air and water in the surrounding area.

We started making trails on the property in 1969. To date, we have created and maintained over four km of trails winding throughput our 88 acres. The forested area in the southern section has mature trails leading through ice-storm damaged cedars, towering red pines, tamaracks and birches that have reached the end of their life cycle, and young maples that are just getting started. A small offshoot trail leads you to the base of a century-old white pine tree one person can’t put their arms around.

The trails to the north lead you past our field labyrinth – the perfect spot for dark skies viewing - through a wetland area, and forests of spruce and pine planted in 1971, 1995, 2002 and a new forest of white pine just planted in 2019. Hikers will enjoy witnessing how the planted trees blend in and compete with the pioneer species of poplar, cedar, birch, oak, hemlock and tamarack slowly regaining their original territory.

Layered clothing and suitable footwear are recommended, along with tick protection.

Maps of the trails are available below.

trails songwood
Thursday, 10 November 2022 14:44

How North Grenville got its tree logo

In 1998, when the newly amalgamated Township of North Grenville was formed, our design company, TD Graham + Associates had already been around for nine years, and had developed a reputation as an award-winning marketing communications firm. The new township needed a logo – a brand to display on letterhead, business cards and signage. Our company offered to design a new brand pro bono – for free – an offer which was readily accepted.

Organizations (and municipalities) need a visual identity – a brand; a logo. One that reflects the ‘personality’ of the area, its characteristics. Its image. In those days, most towns and townships had crests as their ‘logo’ of sorts. These usually involved shields, silhouettes of castles, sheaves of wheat, flowing rivers, bee hives – all kinds of allegorical imagery attempting to represent the community’s past. As romantic and emotional as these crests were, they don’t read well at a glance – they don’t reproduce well, and they certainly don’t come across well on a web site – which most municipalities were starting to realize the need for.

During its first few months in existence, the new township faced the challenges of the Ice Storm of ’98, but by the end of that year the new council was ready to think about a brand for our community. In November, I met with new CAO Carl Cannon, along with North Grenville’s first Mayor, Don Cameron, plus councilors Owen Fitz’Gerald, David Delaney, Patrick Esmonde-White and Judy Armstrong. I listened as they discussed their hopes and goals for the new township. They were all keen to make sure the histories of Kemptville, Oxford-on-Rideau and South Gower were represented in the new logo design.

Each brought forward their ideas for imagery to represent the new community: rivers and streams, nature, agriculture, history, small town, hamlets and more. They asked, “How are you going to blend all this together to ensure everyone’s essence is portrayed?” Discussion ensued about how to reduce the number of items on the list – to simplify and find a common element that would unite the three communities and present one unique image to suit this new entity called North Grenville.

After further discussion, I said, “It’s too bad we couldn’t just go with a stylized, abstract tree to represent a modern amalgamated municipality”, and with a fat marker I drew the tree swoosh and the words ‘North Grenville’ on the flip chart. I let them look at it for a moment, then added, “But you’d probably never agree to that,” and flipped the page. They all went, “Wait! Let’s see that again…”



They loved it. It was simple, yet elegant. (Once we got the OK, it actually took our design team hours of drawing hundreds of tree swooshes by hand to arrive at the perfect one, and then re-creating the graphic in vector art form so it would reproduce accurately in different sizes.)

So, why the tree? Isn’t there more to North Grenville than trees? We wrote in the design rationale to Council, “The tree was chosen for North Grenville simply because it’s a symbol of nature and a symbol of growth – two things we have plenty of.” Think Ferguson Forest Centre, Limerick Forest, Kemptville Campus. And perhaps a counterpoint to development.

“The design of the logo is such that the energetic, free-form style of the tree is balanced and anchored solidly by the strong, bold, business-like style of the letters making up the name ‘North Grenville’,” stated the rationale.

“Logos are never intended to tell the whole story; they’re simply meant to represent part of the story. The story is actually told in many other ways – such as how people experience our community. People will form their impressions of our community by our amenities and attractions, our policies and programs – not our logo. The experience gives meaning to the logo; the logo does not give meaning to the municipality.”

Has it worked? It seems to have. Over the last 25 years, under this brand, thousands of residents have come to recognize this logo as representing their home. Economic development efforts have been launched to attract commercial investment – and hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs have been created. Tourism efforts have been initiated, and visitors and residents alike enjoy our trails, our waterways, our parks.

And, oh yes, our trees.

Friday, 29 January 2021 21:14

Rideau Lakes

The Township of Rideau Lakes is a rural municipality rich in history and rooted in farming with a love of its abundant lakes and waterways. TD Graham was engaged to take their existing strong brand and make it stronger across all media – from their collateral materials, to signage to social media. With some refinements and guidance we are happy to have been able to provide a strong identity utilizing what is best about Rideau Lakes and capitalizing on it’s strengths. With our partners at ProbaseWeb we created a new municipal website that features a tourism subsection – and promotional video.

Friday, 29 January 2021 21:12

Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre

Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre celebrated 25 years in business in 2020! A publicly-funded initiative with the dedicated mission of helping, training, and enabling those with a small business in Ontario, LGSBC has been providing free consultations, low-cost workshops, and programs. To honour this achievement TD Graham was asked to help streamline their brand. This energetic organization run by Wendy, Jeanette and Carol will be around a long time to come.

Friday, 29 January 2021 21:11

Lanark Highlands

The Township of Lanark Highlands needed a modern, up to date website, one that would be easy for staff to update, and easy for residents to find what they were looking for. With our partners at ProbaseWeb, we created a new municipal website that features many easy to use components, including a facility booking capability.

In the process, the Township recognized a need to bring their brand into the 21st century to help it compete and rejuvenate for the future. TD Graham + Associates was thrilled with the opportunity to help this rural municipality. They now have the tools they need to get the job done.

Friday, 29 January 2021 21:09

Kemptville Campus

Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre is an educational and multi-use facility serving the community of North Grenville and surrounding Area. TD Graham + Associate’s task was to create a marketing communications plan that ultimately included a new brand for the Campus, collateral materials, street banners, maple syrup labels, and promoting a centennial shindig celebrating 100 years of education. A new website was designed and created with our partners at Probase Web. A signage strategy is in progress.

Friday, 29 January 2021 21:05

Grenville CFDC

Grenville CFDC is a community-based, nonprofit organization funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Their mission is investing in jobs, businesses and community innovation in Grenville County. To raise awareness of their services, TD Graham + Associates was engaged to update their brand identity and help with various marketing materials which included radio ads and a social media campaign. Previously, a new website was designed and created with our partners at ProbaseWeb.

Thursday, 21 February 2019 21:51

Thank You

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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 21:49

How to Take a 3-Minute Shower

how to take a 3 minute shower
Worried about the long-term effects of over-use of water? Looking for ways to make a difference - think globally - act locally? Got a teenager who spends too much time in the shower? You need a copy of “How to take a 3 minute shower...and other things one person can do to conserve water”, by local author Theo Graham.

Using simple graphics to illustrate each point, the book is a good reminder that conservation - especially water conservation - is something we should ALL pay attention to, and that there is always something we can do about it. Instead of just reading about it, you can act on it.

Size: 4” x 5.5” (softcover)
Pages: 20 (Full-colour cover, b+w inside)
Cost: $3.00 plus s&h, and HST
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