When people ask me where I’m from, I never quite know how to answer. I was born in Toronto, did most of my schooling in Kingston, but where I felt most at home was a small Ontario tourist town called Wasaga Beach. My children were born while living there.
I’ve lived in the USA for 11 years as of this month. Although I’ve been back to Wasaga a few times since my move, this most recent visit caught me by surprise. I found myself longing for the simplicity of sitting in my beach chair until the sun set unobstructed in the infinite distance that is Lake Huron.
I miss the seasonal berry picking and subsequent jam making. The ice skating. I miss the snowmobile trails I annually walked for three seasons – pushing a stroller or pulling a wagon – and the trails I cross country skied in the fourth season.
I miss my friends.
There was so much about Wasaga Beach that was crazy busy when I had babies who grew into preschoolers. Childcare, volunteering, socializing. So much activity was centered around recreational fun that kept the children tired enough for afternoon naps and 8 o’clock bedtimes.
I miss that simplicity in my life. I haven’t made jam, or designed new gardens since moving to the USA. I don’t even compost! Daily fun has all but disappeared from my life which is now punctuated by a merry-go-round of work, house cleaning, grocery shopping, appointments and landscape maintenance. I haven’t even kayaked yet this year and I live on water!
My creativity is being stifled. There’s little time for it. When I do sit still, that’s all I can do. Sit. Still. I barely socialize anymore.
Going back to the beach made me long for my old way of living. Afternoon tea play dates, evenings with neighbors on the deck. A constant stream of other-mother companions and discussions of raising children, husbands, recipes, and saving money.
I was just as tired back then but I had an incredible group of neighbors to share it with. Most have moved in different directions, and although I continue to love each and every one of them, it’s not quite the same. We’ve all migrated onto other important matters and the daily contact has long subsided into several-month-long stretches.
The children who brought us together, and were the focal points of our chatter, are getting ready to make their own way in the world. They’re all beautiful, intelligent young adults with bright futures ahead of them. I hope they find themselves blessed with friendships as special as the ones they gave birth to in Wasaga Beach.
Dana Fortier says
What a beautiful story, Pat.
Andrew Mckay says
Well said . I moved my family here from just outside London, England ( where I grew up) nearly 3 years ago and you have put in to words exactly how i feel about the area. My daughter will be 8 in a couple of weeks and what an area to grow up in 🙂 Simplicity but with a great community full of events and a traffic jam is 3 cars in front of you at the lights.
How did you end up choosing Wasaag Beach from the UK? RE: traffic jam – you must be referring to September to May only! 😉
Andrew Mckay says
We had never been to Canada before but were set on Ontario for some reason. We didn't want to live in a city like Toronto or even the GTA and Barrie seemed a good option for size, employment etc. This was all done on the internet. On our 1st visit we decided to stay in Wasaga Beach as a holiday destination and visit Barre to check it out. Our 1st experience of Barrie was driving along Bayfield St and very off putting but we loved Wasaga Beach and bought a home off plan that week! Actually “landed” as permanent residents about 18 months later.
Even during the main holiday weekends the traffic is not too bad as long as you know where to avoid and the back roads to use:)