Haliburton is Changing It’s getting greyer. A quiet tide of retirees is washing over Central Ontario. From Bracebrige to Bancroft, they are returning to the places where they spent that one perfect summer. The time that they rented a cottage on Kashagawigamog or Koshlong or Kawagama and the sun shone and the kids waterskied and the campfire snapped in the gloaming. My husband and I met in Haliburton in 1976, both of us cottagers who grew up thinking that the Highlands were blessed with the bluest lakes and rockiest shores in Canada. Our children spent timeless summers learning to fish and build forts and paddle a canoe. So, upon retirement we found a winterized cottage with a furnace (instead of a woodstove) and a well (instead of a waterline to the lake). Turns out we are not unique, just another boomer couple retiring to cottage country. Haliburton, like so many cottage towns, has changed. Adapting to the influx of “tourists” who have become residents, they are busy updating healthcare facilities and throwing up senior-friendly condominiums with lake views. They have opened an exquisite library with comfortable chairs and a fireplace and big windows overlooking the river. Gone are the ticky-tacky souvenir shops where cabin feverish cottagers took their kids on rainy days to buy puzzles and colouring books and board games. (A jigsaw puzzle of a map of Canada that sat on the shelf at my mother-in-law’s cottage for years had a warning taped to the lid: one piece missing.) These days, there are lovely shops for knitters and decorators. There are restaurants where you can order quinoa salads instead of burgers, although you can still get the best breakfast in the world (The Eye Opener) at the Kozy Korner, which has served the town for over seventy-five years. If there is more efficient service anywhere, I haven’t found it. Haliburton was chiseled out of the woods in the mid 1800’s, a rough place peopled by hard-scrabble farmers who came for the land grants and found that they harvested more stones than crops. Today, the backroads of Haliburton lead to farms where you can buy everything from garlic to goat’s milk. The lumberjacks and sawmill operators have given way to artists and musicians. A lot of them have grey ponytails. Still, this area has always attracted people who march to a different drum. A slower beat, like the sound of rain on a cottage roof. That won’t change anytime soon.
by Wayne Chan | May 3rd 11:55 am
My daily commute is like a small gear of mechanical time, of epicycles upon epicycles, where days turn to months and to years, and the seasons cycle through. The rhythms of time are constant, but the changes they bring are not.
by george ilsley | May 3rd 1:44 pm
The neighborhood of Broma in Vancouver (around Broadway and Main) used to have salmon streams and a temperate rainforest. Now it has hipsters.
by Brendan Harrison | Apr 12th 12:54 pm
When white supremacists moved into my neighbourhood, I was forced to reconsider what community meant to me.
by Monica Meneghetti | May 2nd 11:45 pm
Queer Banffites come in every stripe but, like other wildlife, most of us are well-camouflaged.
by Christin Geall | May 3rd 10:16 pm
In my neighborhood, houses float out to sea. They’re jacked up from their foundations, lifted onto trucks, and barged away.