The blessed birth of an oatmeal coffee stout…

As with many great ideas, often the conversation starts with beer and leads to… beer.

Actually it can be quite a journey, even if all roads lead back to um…home. Originally conceived by our friend Imran Hasan, honoring our front line heroes with a special beer seemed like a tasty idea in these difficult times. But what to brew? The thought of a breakfast stout captured the imagination of our Brewmaster Adam Cherry, which means we needed coffee. Enter Fair Grounds and the collaboration began, but didn’t end there.

With a Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout on the way, a suitable label would be required. The idea of local art led to a contest with The Mississauga Art Council and Lakeview Community Village Partners kicking in for the honorarium. We attracted some very impressive entries, with the winning label by Joanne Feely DeGraaf now adorning every can. Along the way we were moved to benefit a local charity – one that supports so many in need of the basics – and one that we hope we could get others to rally behind. The Compass was an obvious choice, and now every can of FLH Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout will benefit The Compass and encourage others to do the same, while bringing awareness to our Front Line Heroes.


Black in colour, with coffee and dark chocolate on the nose and the creaminess of oatmeal, smooth on the tongue with subtle bitterness of fresh ground coffee leading to a crisp finish that begs for another sip. Pairs well with breakfast or lunch, but satisfying as a compliment to a rich meal or sweet dessert.

With 40 artwork entries received for the label contest, it was a difficult task for the panel of five to narrow it down. In the end, the four works below were selected as the finalists and shared with a few others. Votes were tallied and a unanimous decision was made for the winning work. Click on the images for a closer look.

And the winner is…

One of the most remarkable things about the Covid-19 experience is how it has highlighted the impact small things can have. While this is true of the virus itself, it is also true of our collective human experience. The small choices and acts we participate in send positive or negative waves out into our communities. Regardless of their personal sacrifices, front line workers have contributed so much to keep us collectively moving in a positive direction. The designs I submitted for the Front Line Heroes project are meant to visualize some of their large and small acts of everyday heroism that mean so much to so many. The design is meant to build awareness of their efforts and sacrifices as well as give thanks to our Front Line Heroes.

The small white icons are meant to illustrate many of the activities and services that front line workers have provided since our  lives changed with Covid-19. These icons were scratched by hand onto a material called scraper board. This media simulates the ancient “sgraffito” technique. Scraper board allows me to capture the motion of drawing, which in turn conveys a sense of action in the images. I hoped to capture the myriad of activities Front Line Heroes have provided in a way that conveys the spirit and action of the people they represent.

The original hand drawn art was then scanned and edited digitally. Other elements such as the lines and colours were then added to pull the design together and add some visual structure. I wanted these elements to be reminiscent of an athletic logo as I feel it suggested team spirit. I hope this communicates how we are each working together to face the challenges of Covid-19, but in a way that celebrates how our Front Line Heroes are leading the way.

It’s hard to anticipate or even imagine the pandemic of 2020, and while we’re all sick of talking about COVID, we can’t stop talking about COVID. For a lot of good reasons, other than just staying healthy, we’ve become more aware of the things we take for granted. We realize what’s really essential, and how important these things become, especially when we have to line up to get them, or they’re not available at all… Like those services that we cannot do without, that we’ve never had to worry about. (And yes, of course beer is essential).

Behind all those goods and services and healthcare are the people providing them. The people who go to work every day in public spaces, serving you and I, our children and our parents, with no option to work from home. Teachers, store clerks, health care workers, first responders, to name only a few, many of whom have little choice but to put themselves at risk on the front lines so that we can all continue to carry on with our lives. We were inspired by their efforts and we got together with Fair Grounds Coffee to honour them with our vote of thanks, and ask for your vote as well. Enjoy this delicious Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout, brewed with all those hard workers in mind who might need to wind up or wind down after a long day in the bustle of the pandemic front lines.  Every can you buy will result in a contribution to The Compass, our local food bank.

Beer is not just for breakfast anymore!

Introducing the winning artist

Joanne Feely DeGraaf

Driven by a desire to create and communicate visually, art has always been at the center of Joanne Feely DeGraaf’s life. After earning an Honours Bachelor of Fine Art at York University she completed a Bachelor of Education, and Honours Specialist certification in Visual Arts. She has taught visual art to high school students for a quarter of a century and worked as a Gallery Educator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in her early career.

Her efforts have been recognized by various institutions. This is reflected in awards she has received such as the Peel District School Board’s Award of Excellence (2014) and Distinction (2012, 2016, 2019). Her artwork has been exhibited by various galleries and cultural centers including the
Mississauga Living Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Etobicoke Civic Centre and Halton Regional Center. Connecting her students to authentic art creation opportunities has allowed her to lead and co-lead art projects that feature aspects of the City of Mississauga’s identity and beautifies
its public spaces. These have provided opportunities for her to work alongside various community groups such as the City of Mississauga Ward One office, Parks and Forestry and Heritage Mississauga. These artistic projects have added context and beauty to Mississauga’s Port Credit and
Lakeview neighbourhoods.

While her choices of media are versatile, she predominately works in two dimensional acrylic paint, mixed media and photography. If the concept or function of the artwork needs to be communicated in three dimensions however, it is not unusual for her artwork to take on a more sculptural form.
This versatility allows her to choose the best tools and media to match the function and concept of the art she creates. Watch for her art or art she created collaboratively with her students or other artist in around the Mississauga community. During the summer 2020 her Pollinator Playground mural was one of 14 included in the Artscape Atelier Sunflower Lane installed at the Lakeview Village development.

Launch Date December 4, 2020. L-R Stephen Dasko (Ward 1 Councillor), Ann Ivy Male and Ron Duquette (Mississauga Arts Council), Joanne Feely De Graaf (Artist), Imran Hasan (Ideas Guy), Ross Noel (Stonehooker), Brian Sutherland (ARGO Developments), Jeff Stinson (Fair Grounds Coffee), John Nyholt (The Compass), Adam Cherry (Stonehooker)