My Little Hidden Gem in Canada

My Little Hidden Gem in Canada - (as featured in Common Objectives and can be found here )

“Travel does not exist without home… if we never return to the place we started; we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.” (Josh Gates) I just love this quote because I think in our world we don’t seem to appreciate home as much as we should. We’ve put travelling so high up on a pedestal (and for good reason!) we’ve forgotten to reflect on our home soil, in our own roots. 

We’ve been told and encouraged to travel, to see the beauty in the world and to go and find yourself. But, what about the beauty in your home town? What about the life lessons you can learn right at home?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to travel and I think everyone should experience it, when they can. But I also believe in the small things in life and not taking things for granted. This includes loving the town you live in, embracing home as more than just a place to live, but your way of life.

First of all, I’m Canadian! And, I’m proud of it! Canada is made up of 13 Provinces and Territories. Although I haven’t had the chance to visit them all, I’ve been privileged enough to visit my fair share! I’m from Ontario, which is central. I’ve visited British Columbia and Alberta, which is considered the West Coast. I’ve even visited the very Far North in Nunavut! (Yes, that’s the arctic!) I’ve been a little East, but my real Eastern adventures will be this summer when my best friend gets married in Newfoundland (I can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast!)

I live in Barrie, Ontario. It’s an hour north of the hustle and bustle of one of our countries leading cities, Toronto, and an hour south of the beautiful, breath taking, cottage country; Muskoka. In my humble opinion, it’s a true hidden gem; perfect combination of city and country.

Barrie was named in 1833, so it has a lot of history! Barrie is split into two parts (unofficially); the South End and the North End. It’s split by the main 400 Series Highway. The South End is very busy, new, up and coming, full of shops, and full of people. The North End (where I live) is more quaint, historical, quiet, and peaceful. Our home was built in 1921; just to give you an idea of the history in my end of town. We are literally across the street from Kempenfelt Bay, a beautiful body of water. And our 1.4 acre home backs onto a beautiful and serene forest. It doesn’t get more perfect that that! Actually, just last year, we got married in our backyard, and walked across the street to get photos done on the water!

If I’ve convinced you to come visit my lovely city, here are the things you should check out;

Barrie has a beautiful Waterfront. It’s perfect for a romantic walk, taking the kids to enjoy the park, boating or just sitting solo and reading a book during the summer. Although, the last one might be difficult as our waterfront is usually jam packed! If it’s a nice day, you’re guaranteed a crowd by the waterfront. (However, I know some secret spots I can point out.)  My favourite (*cheap date alert!*) is evening walks along the waterfront, staring at the boats and maybe grabbing an ice cream! It’s just so beautiful and a perfect place to take in the scenery and unwind (and get a little exercise)!

Don’t you love fresh produce? Fresh veggies and fruit are one of my faves! Barrie has its very own Farmers Market. Full of produce, meat and tons of knick knacks. They are open outdoors every Saturday morning from 8am- noon (so you better get up early!) from May to October, and then move indoors for the Winter from November to April. They’re open rain or shine, so it’s a good excuse to extend the use of your rain boots!

My end of town also has lots of small, mom and pop shops, which are my favorite. You won’t find a Starbucks in the North End, but you’ll find some lovely coffee shops downtown that are warm, inviting, and (cheaper!).  You’ll find restaurants that will knock your socks off, only to find out the owners are local and they are NOT franchised.  Barrie isn’t like your big name City attraction. Its low key, slow paced, and perfect. So next time you’re local, come say hi!