Location, Location, Location!

I live in the best place in the world!!  You may love the place you were born, or the place you’re living now.  You may hate either, or both.  Doesn’t matter!  I live in the best place in the world.  There is no perfect place, but mine is the best compromise.  I live in the center of Southern Ontario, Canada.

I live within an hour’s drive of three of the nicest of the Great lakes, hundreds of miles of white sand beaches and cool (but not cold) water.  Some, near the bigger cities can be contaminated, but if you’re willing to drive a bit, it’s worth the trip.  All the tourist traps and the natural magnificence of Niagara Falls are but an afternoon’s trip away.

If you don’t like the big lakes and the big crowds, there are dozens of little lakes where you can put up a cottage and go fishing.  They’re a bit reedier, muddier or rockier, but often so small they’re like a warm jet-spa.

The land ranges from pool-table-flat, to hills tall enough to ski on in the winter and keep the eyes interested in the summer.  Mountains are magnificent, but they block out the sky.  The land is covered with some of the most fertile soil in the world.  Sadly, urban sprawl is eating a lot of it up, but a huge selection of meat and vegetables are locally grown, and fairly cheaply.

My city called itself “The Biggest Small Town in the World”, almost 50 years ago when I arrived.  It’s grown a lot, but it still has a small town feel.  It’s big enough to be interesting, without being so big it’s dehumanizing.  We have a concert hall, with a local symphony.  Acts like Roger Whittaker, Brad Paisley, Jeff Dunham, Cats and Rent have come to town.  If you want more than that, Toronto is only an hour’s drive away.

We have two Universities and a widely renowned Community College.  The Kids Museum morphed into themuseum (allonewordnocapital), still with stuff to interest kids, but with added paintings and sculpture, plus defunct equipment telling the tale of vanishing local manufacturing.  The house where J. M. Schneider, who founded the meat packing business lived, is preserved, and can be toured.  Doon Pioneer Village, on the outskirts, used to highlight the 1870s, Mennonite heritage, but has moved up 50 years, and now showcases life in the early 20th century as Doon Heritage Crossroads.

The weather too is varied enough to be interesting, but almost never vicious.  We have four distinct seasons.  Johnny Carson was dismayed when he moved from New York to Los Angeles.  He found they only had two seasons out west, wildfire and mudslide.  When the temps went from warm to warmer, the city crews took in the green plastic plants, and put out the brown plastic plants.

In the summer, our temperature usually ranges from mid-70s F. to high-80s F., with just enough humidity in the air to be comfortable.  Places like Arizona are great for people with asthma and other breathing problems, but are so dry the skin flakes off your face, as readings soar over 100 F.  Places like Georgia have slightly lower temps, but moisture levels so high, even healthy folk have trouble drawing a breath.

In the winter, readings usually hover about 10 degrees below freezing, not like western Canada, where it can plunge to minus 30 or 40, and the wind whistling across the prairies can make it feel like -50 or worse.  It can get hot in the summer, and cold and snowy in the winter, but not for long.  The area is so unexciting that even the weather gets bored, and moves on.

We generally get just enough rain in the warm months to feed the crops, not cascading off the mountains and washing us into North Dakota.  Kitchener is near enough to the Great Lakes that they moderate our temperatures, but far enough away that we are not inundated with snow.  We get enough to provide spring watering for farmers but not so much that we have to exit buildings from second, or third, floor windows.

We are not subject to monsoons, or tsunamis.  The tail end of an occasional hurricane blows this far north and inland, like last fall’s Superstorm, but rarely causes much damage.  We do experience the infrequent tornado.  I once drove within a quarter-mile of one, on my way to visit my parents.  It snapped a few tree branches off and swirled a couple of wheat fields, but wasn’t at all like the half-mile-wide, twenty-mile-long swaths that march though Kansas.

We get the occasional temblor from Montreal, or Ohio, if they’re fracking for natural gas.  Just enough to rattle dishes, but no real earthquakes of our own.

We manage to find all kinds of things to bitch about area politics and politicians, because it’s a game we don’t want to miss.  Compared to other spots on the globe, local politics is bland and boring.  We don’t have oppressive regimes like Cuba, Iran, North Korea or China.  We are caught at the edge of the World meltdown, but our Pols still guide us better than the 23-party, can’t-get-a-decision-made, coalition in Italy, or the fiscal ineptitude of Ireland or Greece.

We escape the polarization of the U.S.A., probably because most far-out opinions are not expressed, and are ignored, not fought about, when they are.  While we appreciate America being the world’s policeman, our tiny, under-supplied Army leaves us money to provide health care for our citizens.  This is socialism, not Communism.  If it’s good enough for the Swedes, it’s good enough for us.

Religiously and morally, it’s pretty much live and let live.  Jews, Muslims, Christians and Shintoists all live in the same communities.  No-one wants to force their beliefs onto others or drive non-believers from town.  Of course, we all hate the Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially when they ignore the Do Not Ring Bell sign early Saturday morning, when we’re trying to sleep off Friday night.

Abortion and gay marriage are both permitted, although it’s more like just ignored.  There are those who are disturbed by both, but there are others, just as numerous, for whom the removal would be just as disturbing.

All in all, I live in Goldilocks-land, not too hot, not too cold, not too bland, not too exciting, a bit of everything, but not too much of anything.  Come and visit us when you can.  Keep Ontario green; bring money.

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33 thoughts on “Location, Location, Location!

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Your town should hire you to be a travel advertisement. We now return you to your scheduled programming. 😉

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  2. H.E. ELLIS says:

    This sounds like New England, only better. I’m sold.

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  3. Daniel Digby says:

    When you mentioned oppressive regimes, I thought you were going to talk about Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Ohio. I listen to Christian radio down here, and you must be mistaken. You have Communist health care. Just thought I’d set you straight.

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  4. Kayjai says:

    Ahhhh, Ontario my home and native land. Meanwhile, here on the rock, our Premier is resigning, winter has arrived and I currently am sitting in my office sans heat. Yay me! Nice post, Archon. I’ll visit if I can ever get off this rock. 😀

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Yeah, I heard that Blunderdale was coming to Ontario to be Kathleen Wynne’s new live-in partner….or was it Ellen Degenerate??
      In the meantime, use the steel wastepaper basket to burn any evidence. Two problems solved! WE would love a visit. 🙂

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  5. BrainRants says:

    You describe the mile-wide, finger-of-god paths of tornadic destruction like that’s a bad thing. They keep trailer parks under control.

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  6. I live about an hour a way from you, so I can agree with all you have said, though I do love the Algonquin area, and when I drive through the Eastern Townships of Quebec, I dream of retirement.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I’ve been through Algonquin Park a couple of times. Magnificent to visit, but I prefer civilization to live in. That, lack of income, and my anti-frog tendencies keep me away from Quebec. I’d even visit my hometown of Southampton, but prefer my “big” small town for amenities. 🙂

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  7. aFrankAngle says:

    Hey Archon …. Our cities Travel and Visitor’s Center should hire you! … and heck, maybe someday I will cruise your way.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      For a Canadian-taught College course, I had to do one like this for Ashtabula, Ohio. (Yawn) I can still spread it on thick.
      They wouldn’t be as luxurious as most of your other cruises. I don’t know about food or service but, if you can get past the name, there are two ferry runs from Sandusky, past Point Pelee, into Ontario. We could meet you at the docks. 🙂

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      • aFrankAngle says:

        Well now … there’s an idea I hadn’t considered. On the other hand, how long is the drive to Detroit?

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      • Archon's Den says:

        3 1/2 hours southwest on Highway 401 for me. 4 1/2 hours north on I 75 for you. I’m still mulling options for a summer trip to see John E., and then on to Cinci. If BrainRants could get over that far, I could bring J. E. and Tami with us and we could have a real blog-get-together, but that’s a ten hour drive for him. He may be reposted by then…. 🙂

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  8. Jim Wheeler says:

    When I retired from the Navy I had my choice of getting our stuff hauled anywhere in the country, but we came here to Joplin MO because of the proximity to my aging mother and handicapped sister. Otherwise we would probably have picked Florida or California. I’m glad we didn’t. We made 10 moves while in the Navy, so we had a good handle on the different environments, but what we didn’t have was a long-range perspective on what would be important. Family is no. 1, but also important are low crime, low population density, and low cost of living, all of which Joplin has. Parking, for example, is seldom a problem (except for the mall at Christmas, of course.) Last night we parked 10 feet from the restaurant door. Then, there’s traffic. Not much of a problem here and not even in the same universe as, say, San Diego or Boston, both places we sojourned for a spell. Yuk. Congestion = stress.

    We’ve had the same family physician and the same dentist for 33 years and we are thoroughly familiar with the businesses around town. Familiarity is a sort of safety net, I guess, that gets more important with age. Sometimes I wish we had an important museum, but let’s face it, such things are of only sporadic convenience. As for tornadoes, we’ve already had ours. 🙄

    What we don’t have is much for entertainment – of the variety that doesn’t come through a wire, that is. Branson is about an hour and a half away, but a little of that goes a long way for us. Fortunately, pretty good entertainment does come over the cable, and with the DISH dvd, we can skip the commercials. When 100,000 people go to freeze their butts off in East Rutherford, NJ on February 2, I plan to have mine firmly planted in front of my plasma TV, remote and drink in hand, finger on pause. The prospect is delicious. We’ll probably even watch some commercials.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Not being much of a sports fan, I was going to ask about people freezing in East Rutherford NJ, then remembered SuperBowl. I’ll be in Detroit that day. No wonder a motel room was so easy to find. Some of the commercials are well worth watching.

      I recently told someone online that the main reason we remain in this city of 220,000, is for reliable medical support. We’re within five minutes of two hospitals, one specializing in cardiac. Our 100,000 sister city has no hospitals. We hope not to need them, but they are reassuring. 🙂

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  9. benzeknees says:

    OK, so you’re saying: The area is so unexciting that even the weather gets bored, and moves on? I beg to differ. In Manitoba there are thousands of beautiful lakes with sugar sand beaches most within an hour’s drive of Wpg., a combination of landscapes from flat as a pancake to rolling hills & gorgeous river valleys. It may get cold but it breeds a hearty people who look forward to eating outside on a frozen river in a restaurant constructed of ice, Festival du Voyageur, etc. I live now in Alberta where they have gorgeous scenery, an hours drive to the mountains, lots of culture, Edmonton has beautiful river valleys, a wonderful small town feel & NO PROVINCIAL TAX making it too expensive for us to live.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Ix-nay about the ax-tay! If the Americans find out that they have to pay 13% above listed prices, even while their buck is worth an extra dime, now that the Loonie is deflating again, they won’t venture North. Or if they do, all we’ll see in Ontario is a flashing middle finger as they rush out west. 😦

      There is some nice scenery and nice folks, west of the center of the universe too! I just wanted to toot my own horn about the chunk of not-Toronto I’ve got. 🙂

      Like

      • benzeknees says:

        We need their tourist dollars out here too, you know! Besides we have to show all these do-gooders our “tar sands” aren’t killing the environment! People like Neil Young, who accept the Order of Canada, then drive their multiple RV’s out here to AB, leaving them empty & idling all night while running down the amount of pollution the tar sands contribute! Grrrrrrrr. . .

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      • Archon's Den says:

        He’s as bad as the Religists. Says one thing, but does the opposite. As a social commentator, he makes a mediocre singer. One night he was sick, and they put his cat on stage. MEowr, MEowr, nobody noticed the difference. 😆

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  10. whiteladyinthehood says:

    It sounds like a really nice place to live!

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  11. […] the risk of clogging your email, I have a snowing/driving story I wish to share.  In my Location, Location, Location post, I wrote of Kitchener being just far enough from three Great Lakes to miss ‘a lot’ of […]

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  12. […] your favorite season? As I wrote in ‘Location, location, location’, we live in a Goldilocks area.  It gets warm, but not too hot in the summer.  It gets cold, but […]

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