We love this town
by Kelly Babcock ©2017
Every town around the world has its protractors, people who would champion their home community until the end of days, and I'm not going to say those people don't make valid points. What community could survive without there being some attraction to living within its boundaries?
But having said that, I want to take my turn at championing my own town, as inadequate as my skills may be for the task.
Let's start by naming this community, I live in Owen Sound, and have lived in or near this little city for much of my adult life.
I call it little because its population grows so slowly. Some feel that makes it appear unhealthy, if the town were really thriving it would grow, right? And yet, though it doesn't boom, it never falters.
Industries have come and gone and still we carry on. Big box stores have piled up on the shoulders of our valley. Yet rather than lie down and get run over by progress, the downtown core has merely acquired a character of uniqueness and carried on in its own spirited way, taking progress into its own hands and making of it what it will.
Our little city is diverse enough to maintain a Regional Health Centre, and strong enough to sustain the Julie McArthur Recreation Centre with pools and two ice surfaces and a YMCA gym and training equipment.
We are culture
And there is culture in this town. And it's strong. From appreciation through creation, Owen Sound oozes the stuff. Don't worry about trying to find something to do, it's more difficult to choose which thing to do at any given time.
From the library and its ongoing community programs, through to our art gallery and its various showings, and on past our world class community theatre, every venue of culture here provides a mix of world acclaimed attractions and locally sourced delights so that our culture can be recognized as culture by anyone, and yet, can be seen as truly our own.
So get out there ...
And there's a shining social life that permeates every street and alley, every lane and boulevard, every trail, and every destination in this town. As one newer, five year resident puts it, “You can say hello to people you know, and to people you don't know. You can contrive to meet people simply by going to the places you know they'll be at.”
And the list of those places is long. Harrison Parkand its little bit of everythingness and its legacy that protects it as a public place that is free for all people to enter is a perfect example.
But there's more
The Owen Sound Farmers' Market, reputedly the longest continuously running farmers' market in Ontario where everyone gathers on Saturday mornings to collect their weeks goodies and their seven days worth of talk about who's done what exciting thing and where everyone is going for the next seven days.
There are stages and venues, clubs and activities everywhere. We have a dragon boat club, a lawn bowling club, pubs and restaurants of many different styles, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, a college campus, dance studios, art studios, artisans and crafters. There are people embracing past, almost lost skills like spinning and weaving, and people who are looking to the future, creating new art of such wide scope on a daily basis.
On any given day there will be music or poetry or visual arts to be experienced, shops will be open, churches will be calling the faithful, and people will be bustling down every street to any number of things that should not be missed.
And all the while the rumble of traffic, the jingling of bicycle bells, the beeping of horns and the chatter and laughter play the score for the symphony of a city that hasn't given up ... a city that has no idea what giving up is.
Why would anyone choose to live in Owen Sound? Why wouldn't they?