Saturday, September 5, 2009

An ode to my new found home in Ontario's near north.

It's been almost a year since that cool November day that Josh, Jonah, and I made the 55 kilometre portage from the shores of Kempenfelt Bay to the shores of Penetanguishene, Place of the White Rolling Sands.  Sounds majestic, doesn't it?
Well, that cool, crisp morning, turned into a wet, windy afternoon, which eventually turned into a very snowy, stormy night, that resulted in a 3 day power outage.  Welcome to the neighbourhood, Gervais family!  First thing on the to-do list once the power goes back on and we unthaw: head to Canadian Tire for a snowblower and a generator.  Apparently, up here snowblowers and generators are as necessary as fridges and stoves.  Hmmm, the real estate agent never mentioned that . . .

So, we survived the winter and spring came.  Then summer came . . . for two weeks.  Then fall arrived again.  In this time, I've learned a lot about our little town of 9000, on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay, gateway to the 30,000 islands (I'm just curious, has someone actually counted every island?  Are there actually 30,000 even, or are there maybe 30,002 or something?).  So let me educate you on this pretty little town we now call home.

You know you're in Penetanguishene when . . .
  1. With the last name Gervais, you fit right in.  Just don't try to pronounce your last name the way the locals do or the jig is up.  They'll know you don't actually speak French.
  2. The ratio of civilians to the institutionalized is about 9 to 1.
  3. You can't spell "P-E-N-E-T-A-N-G-U-I-S-H-E-N-E" so you shorten it to "Penetang" or "The Tang" or "P-Tang".
  4. If you don't have a boat parked in your driveway and a snowmobile or two in the shed, you're not keeping up with the Joneses.
  5. You see a man taking his dog for a walk down the street while riding his riding lawnmower beside him.  (Okay, that was in Perkinsfield, but close enough.)
  6. You're taking your son for a nice evening stroll only to have him point out a rust bucket of a van filled to the ceiling with "plants" driving past you.  The Georgian Bay OPP ceized a boat load of those "plants" the next day.
  7. The beat up old Ford pickup in front of you is making a 3-point turn on a busy 80km/hr county road with a lacy ladies camisole dangling from the driver's side view mirror.
  8. There is only one, again I say, ONE, Tim Horton's, and it's a 24 hour hangout for the local riff-raff.  If you come to visit, consider the Timmies a drive-thru only.  Oh, and shall we not forget to mention how fun it is to loiter in front of the Foodland.
  9. Shorty-long-backs and track pants are very stylish up here.  Oh, and in the winter you can wear you big winter Sorels out and about running errands and you are likely to be complimented on them.
  10. We're not so redneck we keep chickens in the backyard, just a few hundred geese.
  11. Everyone is within 5 minutes walking distance from the lake, so we are blessed with taxes that might as well be waterfront taxes.
  12. You better get your shopping and errands done during your lunch hour.  Main Street shuts down at 5 o'clock.
  13. There are 5 school boards, that's right, five.  English Public, French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic, and English Protestant.
  14. Playboy Playmate, Miss January 1990, hails from Penetanguishene.
  15. Other notables include Brian Orser (figure skating champion), Russ Howard (curling champion), Chris Kontos (NHLer), not to mention Tim Mason: Lawn Bowler.
  16. At the local Superstore, the Saturday before Christmas, no one is in a rush.  People stop to chat in the aisles, and the cashier casually fills your bags while cheerfully chatting you up.  No one in the line behind you that extends into the paper goods aisle seems to mind.  This is small town life.
Pretty little Penetang, home sweet home . . .  hey, did I mention I don't have to fight the traffic on Bayfield Street anymore?  Seriously though, Penetang is a beautiful little community, and we're adjusting to small town life just fine.  I love it here and look forward to spending many years to come in this "place of the white rolling sands".


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