Everyone knows of course Toronto, or maybe Mississauga and Brampton where there is a high concentration of West Indians. But tell someone you’re living in Orangeville and they look at you blankly. Either that or they say, ‘why the ass are you living out there in the countryside?’
Indeed, it is countryside – Orangeville is a small town about an hour from Toronto, with a population of around 30,000. Once you drive past the congestion of Brampton, you suddenly find yourself surrounded on both sides by endless miles of farmland, which comes as a bit of a shock. The hills roll up and down what is known as ‘The Greenbelt’, passing a few other small towns, and then at the very top you reach Orangeville.
The town is best described as ‘cute’ or ‘quaint’, but it has everything you need, and nothing is more than 10 minutes away. Every neighborhood has a nice school which the kids walk or ride to and from. People are friendly and kind and eager to strike up a chat. And life is blissfully easy.
The core ‘downtown’ strip that runs through the town is called Broadway, and it’s got a lot of charm with old, red brick buildings dating to the 1830s. Many are now galleries, little cafes, pubs, and unique shops that the locals frequent.
It has been quite an adjustment getting used to life in a small town, after living in mega cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, with the endless hustle and bustle, people everywhere, crowded trains and sidewalks and restaurants.
But strangely enough, instead of heading to Toronto every chance I get, we find ourselves driving even further out to hike in provincial parks, and explore other quaint little towns. I’ve always loved the energy of big cities, but small town life has its own charms too.
In Orangeville, the main outdoor attraction is scenic Island Lake, with beautiful hiking and biking trails. I can’t wait for the summer to try out canoeing on the lake.
The Canadian geese have arrived in Orangeville which can only mean one thing – the big thaw is coming! Thank god we survived this first winter. Time to bring on summer!