This Place We Call Home
There is so much to love about Essex County. And one thing I know for sure is that I will never stop appreciating this beautiful place where we’ve planted root. My husband and I both come from small towns and have very fond memories of our childhood experiences there. As we grew into early adulthood and decided to take on life together, we travelled across the country living a bit of a nomad lifestyle. As proud Canadians, we wanted to see what this country had to offer. So, we moved around. A lot. We didn’t tie ourselves to one place and we were never scared of change. As long as we were together, anywhere was home. We lived in high-rise apartments in bustling cities near the ocean, we lived in resorts up north - working hard and playing even harder, we’ve even lived quietly and peacefully in a van by the lake. I love our life story. And most importantly, I love where it led us.
I will never forget my very first experience in Kingsville. My husband’s work had an office here, so moving this way was always an option. I decided to come visit for a couple days to scope it out. When I first arrived, I remember I wanted to check out the shops on Main St. I was chatting with one of the shop owners, telling her our situation, and she recommended that I get a latte ToGo from Merli’s and gave me a list of places to check out along my stroll through town. I did as she instructed. When I went to pay for my latte, the barista told me that Celest from next door had called, and it was on her. 🤍
The next time we came to town was to view a house. I visited Merli’s again because it was so quaint and charming. The barista saw me looking at a house listing and assured me that I would love it here. He told me that a study was done years ago, and that Kingsville was rated the ‘third happiest city in Canada’. He then declared “that was years ago, we’re probably 1st now!”. And just like that, I was sold. Kingsville was where we were going to raise our family.
The statistic proved to be true! In our experience anyways. We have created some of our happiest memories here and met some of the most fantastic people. That’s the thing about small town living. The pace just seems to be a little slower. Strangers and acquaintances alike often go out of their way to chit chat or simply spread some good cheer. I cannot tell you how many driveway conversations with neighbours have grown into meaningful relationships. I may be generalizing, but it just seems that people here tend to look out for one another. And life is that much sweeter because of it.
Another reason to love this place we call home, is all of the natural beauty in which it encompasses. The fact that we as a family can ride our bicycles to town through the greenway path, without having to ride in traffic, is so terrific. Any number of hiking trails are a stone’s throw away, and there are amazingly stunning sites to be seen. This week we are checking a couple boxes off of our summer bucket list and loving every minute of it.
We’re currently camping at Wheatley Provincial Park and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Slowing down and taking some time to unplug from the pulls of everyday life is really important to our family. And there are so many places to do that locally. From enjoying afternoons on the lake, to immersing yourself in the depths of the lush, green forest at places like Point Pelée, there is just so much natural beauty to soak up.
While we’re on the topic of soaking up beauty. Let me add art to the list of reasons I love this town! Kingsville & Leamington have an incredible art scene! Between the Grovedale Art Centre, The Carnegie Hall & The Leamington Art Centre, there is always a venue to view, purchase, or create some original artwork!
Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree Art Exhibit by Sarah Trudell & Val Read
There is so much to love in Essex County. One of my favourite things about the area is the astonishing number of Ma & Pop shops, markets, and restaurants. I mentioned my love for Merli’s at the beginning, it played a huge role in my first impression of Kingsville. Although the wreckage the COVID years had on small businesses is heartbreaking. I am glad to see that the new establishments coming in are still mostly independently owned. The quality, service, uniqueness, and the all-around heartwarming experience of shopping or eating somewhere family run is simply the best. People from all over the world have immigrated here, and that is reflected in the huge variety of cuisine available. I love that on any given day, I can run into town to get a taste of authentic Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, or Mennonite cooking.