Let’s say you’re strolling down the main street of a pretty little cottage-country town, enjoying a summer day. You stop here and there to get a closer look at store windows and to investigate a menu. Ahead you can see the locks where boats from far and wide are making their way through the Trent-Severn Waterway. Lots of houseboats today with their happy-go-lucky passengers. Maybe you’ll walk over and sit on a bench to watch for awhile before a patio lunch. Now you’ve got it. Your city cares are far away and Bobcaygeon starts to hum its happy music in your mind.
Bobcaygeon’s special ambiance is backed up by a unique history. A major claim to fame was staked when the village became the site of the first lock in the now famous Trent-Severn Waterway in 1833. Bobcaygeon is actually built on three islands, a fact that might escape you unless you’re counting bridges on the way into town. The people on those three islands are united by their desire for a wonderful place to live, to raise a family, to own a business, to take a vacation, and to fondly call ‘our town’.
And its people, of course, pulling it all together. Volunteers, mostly. This year the Chamber of Commerce’s Not for Profit Achievement Award went to the volunteers of Impact 32. They’re one of several very active volunteer groups, and you can see their projects all over town.
Last year’s screening of the Tragically Hip farewell concert was attended by thousands and captured international media attention. City Councillor Kathleen Seymour Fagan and her Impact 32 team were instrumental in making that happen.
Jamie Henderson and his crew help keep the streets beautiful with hanging baskets, colourful banners and seasonal decorations.
Impact 32’s marketing team introduced Bobcaygeon’s first annual Family FrostFest in February, with a popular snow sculpture contest and children’s games.
This summer, Carly Poole and her team brought a bike sharing program to town so tourists can travel easily and see everything. They’re also erecting signposts and creating town maps with every business marked.
Impact 32 folks are raising funds for more docks so more boaters can park and stay awhile, and they liaise with Trent-Severn Waterway to find ideas that benefit everyone.
Members have also rolled out a new one-stop-shop interactive website VisitBobcaygeon.com, and they continue to look for more ideas, more ways to benefit Bobcaygeon.
Now you’ve found a shady bench by the locks and settled in to watch the world go by one boat at a time. What could be finer? When you want just about anything, it’s not far away from where you sit. Resorts large and small, restaurants and shops, beaches and boating, fishing and swimming, skating and snowmobiling . . . everything you might want or dream of.
You might wonder if one day you’ll find a way to make this little town with heart your town too. Once the leaves have fallen and the ‘Grand Daddy of Em All’ Bobcaygeon Fair is over, the village settles into an easy pace enjoyed by more and more people every year. There’s surely a place for you in this little corner of paradise called Bobcaygeon.
By Bonnie Harris