First off again, sorry not sorry for the earworm that came with reading that title, and really sorry not sorry if the earworm was created by reading this sentence and clueing into what I meant :D. This post is about the favourite places and spaces I’ve come across in the various places I’ve lived/worked over the last few years.
Below is the continuation of my list of favourite things, only this time with a focus on where I currently live. Need some context? Check out https://thephilanthropicbookace.ca/?p=5765.
Please note that although I am closely connected to CFB Borden, I have not include it here for OpSec (Operational Security). Needless to say, I love all of it and consider it to be one of the places I grew up in.
This list is definitely not mutually exclusive because I could go on for a very long time (which I already did so…), nor is it in order of likeability (they’re actually in alphabetical order). You’d get bored, I’d get bored. You’re welcome.
Adjala-Tosorontio & New Tecumseth.
It’s just a nice place to sit with a cup of coffee and work for a few hours, or get lost in a book. Whatever floats your boat. I’ve written numerous articles sitting at a table near the door and the cash register tucked just out of the way.
Earl Rowe Provincial Park.
Like most places in South Simcoe, it’s a place where you forget that you are close to Toronto and Barrie and can just relax. You can either chill at the beach (I haven’t done this yet), go camping (soon maybe), or get lost on the trail system that winds through the entire park (I wasn’t lost, but I seriously underestimated the summit climb to the lookout). Beware of the Canadian Cobra Chickens that like to cause grief and give them wide berths. Overall, a very relaxing time and favourite outdoor space of mine.
Lisle Food Mart.
When I lived in Lisle and it was stormy weather, this was literally the only place to get anything. Saved my butt a time or two! I still go back there now and again as the owners/staff are super friendly and it’s awesome to support local businesspeople.
Sheldon Creek Dairy.
I’ve only been there for the ice cream, but the staff was super friendly and the young person I talked to at the cash was among the friendliest I’ve ever met outside of my own Cadets.
South Simcoe Arts Council.
I get so inspired when I go there. In fact one of my new favourite book series, Marketville Mysteries, (written by Judy Penz Sheluk) is sold there. I happened to stop in for the first time a few years ago, bought the first 2 books in the series (I’ve misplaced the 2nd one :() and Judy signed it for me there in the shop! BookAce’s day made!
The Gibson Centre.
This isn’t a building you expect to see on a back street in Alliston, but it is absolutely stunning inside and outside. I instantly felt transported to a more peaceful and restful time. I’ve been there for some of their markets and I’m looking forward to going there for Rotary Club meetings soon.
Tottenham Section of the Trans-Canada Trail.
It’s nice and flat, which is fantastic for just zoning in, listening to music and spending an hour or two outside. It passes by the Tottenham Conservation Area Lake, which makes for cool breezes on a hot day and a nice view. You forget how close you are to Highway 9 and the beginning of the GTA when you’re on the trail.
The Little Free Library in Lisle by Victoria Crescent.
I’m a huge advocate for reading and books being accessible to everyone. I believe that education, not matter how it’s obtained is a human right. Adjala-Tosorontio, for some reason that I will have to investigate later, does not have a public library system, or even just one branch in one of the villages/hamlets. This Little Free Library ensures that someone who maybe can’t access Angus, Alliston or Clearview can still get access to a new book to read.
If I’m crushing it on the Tottenham Trail or on the way back from Newmarket and points East, I’m stopping at Vince’s. Its got the same layout as most grocery stores, but it’s got a different feel to it. Hard to explain. They have cold & hot bars, a killer bakery and popping popcorn!
Angus/Thornton (also known as Essa Township).
Essa Public Library.
I’m a Bookworm, so spending a certain amount of time per month in a library or bookstore of any kind is a requirement for me to keep that nickname. The Angus branch is attached to the High School, so it’s always got something going on. The Thornton branch is in the same building as the Fire Dept, which is a great way to share facilities for a community. I love getting their Book Bundles for books and audiobooks because I get the chance to read/meet new authors that I never would have tried before. Huzzah!
All of the buzz about this local business is legit. Their iced cappuccino is fantastic and their baklava cheesecake is scrumptious. I like my cheesecake on the firmer side (i.e. from the freezer and slightly thawed), but this changed my mind. Bonus points to them for remembering me from the day before.
If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for? Mona’s is in the Dollarama/Home Hardware plaza, just next to the Angus Beer Store. I was obsessed with Jamaican patties when I was a kid, but the ones I had were bland in comparison. Mona’s has so much flavour and overall goodness. Yes, the jerk pork is as spicy as they will warn you it is. If you go with it, be sure to have macaroni salad and milk at your side. Entirely worth it, IMHO.
The Nottawasaga River and Pine River Trails.
Looking down Mill Street, you wouldn’t really know that there is so much beauty and nature along our river banks (and that we also have a tributary and a major river in town). The Nottawasaga River Trail starts at Willoughby Road (parking just past the bridge going towards Greenwood Drive or just before the bridge if coming from 5th Line). The Pine River Trail starts at the Nottawasaga Fish Park on County Road 90 (look for the Lions Hall). Both have incredible views of the rivers and climates/geography that you wouldn’t expect to see unless you know a lot about the Nottawasaga River. Both are out-and-backs, very peaceful and not very crowded. If you need regular access to a bathroom, I recommend the Pine River Trail during Spring/Summer, as it has seasonal bathrooms. The Nottawasaga Trail has no facilities whatsoever.
Beautifully done tribute to Canada’s Peacekeepers and to those Peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Angus acknowledges and is very proud of it’s connection to CFB Borden, so this is nice thing to see. It’s well-thought out and very respectful. It’s located at the corners of Brentwood Road, Mill Street and Commerce Drive so you can’t miss it. The main parking is off of Commerce Drive, but be careful if you’re crossing the street from Sweet Escape or the plaza.
The Fry’s the Limit (Thornton).
I’ve only been once, but that’s my fault. I went late in the season last year and couldn’t make it back again before they closed. I will be back now that they are open again for 2022. The conversation I had with the owner and the cook about Essa Economics was definitely one that stands out in my mind, and can only ever happen by connecting with a small business owner that lives & works in the same community as you do.
The Last Shot Bar & Grill.
This is one of my new favourite breakfast spots, as the potatoes are so well-seasoned they’re almost spicy, which I like. I’ve had their burgers and fries too as takeout and they hold up well on the drive from Thornton to north Angus! I keep seeing their social media posts about entertainment, so my goal is to make it out to at least one musical night this year because it looks fun.
Thornton Cookstown Trail.
The perfect distance to be manageable if you’re strolling and difficult if you’re pushing your pace a bit. It’s an old rail line, which means it’s relatively flat. The exception being the divit just near the entrance off of Veterans’ Drive from a sinkhole/washout. I like that they integrated that into the trail instead of building a platform over it. You can access the trail from Thornton (i.e. the Library, across from Tim Hortons), or go a little further down to Veterans’ Drive by the Casino. My favourite route is Veteran’s to County Road 21/27 then back again. It’s about 5K round-trip.
Yellow Walrus Cafe and Bakery.
Incredible doughnuts and pastries, smooth cappuccinos/drinks and very, very friendly staff. This was the first ever place where someone recognized me as a repeat customer and where I was asked “your usual”? I have three “usuals” when I go there now, but that first interaction and any conversation with the staff and owner are what keep me coming back. Bonus is that it’s right off Base, which makes caffeine pick-me-ups easily accessible.
Yes, I know, these memories and recommendations are very specific to someone who has lived here, not just visited here. I cherish every single memory and hope you enjoyed following along with my walk through part of my current region of residence.
What are your memories of any of the above?