Opinion Column

Enjoying life out of the big city

 Kent Walton

When Judy and I first moved north from Brampton we lived in Duntroon for a number of years. After a lifetime in big cities it was a big change for both of us. Picking up mail from the local garage station, the minimal number of inhabitants, getting ploughed out twice a day, wells running dry, critters in the basement, cluster flies and the list goes on! What a learning curve we had!

While living in Duntroon, we were part of a community that may have been small but it sure was active. Everything from skating parties in the winter to church suppers; we were part of the scene. I was forever cooking pancakes, carving roast beef or simply helping out at some local event. We had a blast!

One time I was asked to find a reporter to attend a fund raiser for the Anglican Church. It was a murder mystery dinner so I called the local paper. The editor listened carefully and then suggested I write it up and send it in to her.


This was to be my first newspaper article! I hadn’t written for a newspaper before but it certainly was a grabber for my first article. I titled it “Murder in Duntroon”. I thought it was cute but I was expecting the editor to put her own caption to the story. She used my headline! Wow did that story get a reaction! I haven’t looked back since.

Over the years we have somehow lost our way from those earlier times. However, recently we had an opportunity to meet up with some old friends from my teaching days. All of us had moved out of the big city and found our way into the small communities of Central Ontario. We represented Craigleith, Hepworth and Tiny Township.

We told tales of our current lives, reminisced about the past and of course exaggerated every story we told. During the conversations that night, the idea of attending the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival came up. What a great idea! It was the thought of returning to the simple things that pleased the soul!

The next morning we set off with our sights on Elmvale. We expected something small and unpretentious with a few people milling about sampling Maple Syrup. Surprise!

Finding a parking spot was a challenge in itself and then after walking what seemed like a mile, we reached the closed streets and arena where everything was happening!

There were hundreds of people and dealers! Small town festival, my foot! The vendors were everywhere selling everything from quilts to religion. It was a flea market gone berserk. Crafts, quilting, local merchants and of course Maple Syrup products were there to be enjoyed.

Making our way through the crowd we kept running into people like ourselves, long time residents but had never been to the festival before or hadn‘t been for a long while. We were having a great time. It reminded us how things have changed over the years doing the simple fun things. Sure it was larger than we expected but it was still small town.

It’s time to get back to the things we loved to do just because they are fun not because it’s an expectation!

So this year, it’s more time at the waterfront, back to the farmer’s markets, back to church dinners and just generally having a good time being with like-minded people. That doesn’t mean we will stop supporting local theatre or community fundraisers but it will mean we will be spending more time trying to get back to why we came here in the first place.

Getting back to basics, Kent Walton can be reached at ebreflections@rogers.com.



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