My Little Town – Paul Simon Revisited

MV Jiimaan leaves port at Kingsville for Pelee...

MV Jiimaan leaves port at Kingsville for Pelee Island. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was published in a newspaper called The Daytripper that is distributed in southwestern Ontario. Written in answer to the question: ‘What makes your town worth a daytrip”, it will give you a little glimpse into my hometown. When I was younger, I sang along with Paul Simon and agreed with his despair in living in a small town. I no longer have angst about small town living—having married a hometown boy and raised my sons here. I have lived in the town “proper” for the last 32 years. Without further ado:

~ An Appealing Town ~

“You may no longer hear the strains of “The Mettawas Waltz” from the former Mettawas Hotel that once made Kingsville famous, but the town is one of the most picturesque in the area.  Despite the fact that whiskey magnate and owner of the Mettawas, Hiram Walker, pulled up stakes from the town long ago, it has grown and flourished.  And it is no wonder:  located on the shores of Lake Erie, it is a quaint, yet modern mini metropolis that has not lost its small town feel.

Coat of arms of the town of Kingsville, Ontario.

Coat of arms  Town of Kingsville, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A town is more than its location. While we vie for the title of southernmost town in Ontario with some of our neighbours, it is in our community spirit that we excel. I know this because I attend and cover the Town Council meetings for the local newspaper. The people of Kingsville love their town and want it to grow, while at the same time not risk losing its appealing charm. In fact, our logo a few years back dubbed us the Port of Appeal.

Council meetings in our happily amalgamated town can be quite lively, especially if it concerns something the residents are passionate about.  Preservation of our historic homes and buildings has taken a front seat since people started to become aware that some of our heritage buildings were being razed without proper notice. One very shining example of a community project is our Train Station, restored to its former glory, and currently open to the public in its reincarnation as a restaurant.  We have a state-of-the-art library in the town core (one of three within the municipal town limits), located in a refurbished building that was sitting empty. Its former home, a Carnegie building, is being considered for new life as a possible Arts and Visitors Centre, instead of being a target for the wrecking ball. (Since this was written, the Carnegie has been beautifully refurbished and is not only an Arts and Visitors Centre but also our Tourist Information Centre.)

We have it all—small shops, restaurants galore, specialty stores, as well as big markets and large retailers. They all fit neatly into the puzzle that is our town.  While the town proper is a hub of activity, our municipality of Kingsville boasts fertile farmland, a fishing industry, and manufacturing. Amalgamation gave Kingsville a big bonus–the villages of Cottam and Ruthven, which each have their own unique attractions.

I have lived in this area all of my life, except for a sojourn in the big city of Windsor for post-secondary education (for seven short years). For the first twenty years of my life I was a “country girl” and grew up in a close knit community (with amalgamation, my old community is now part of the municipality of Kingsville) where school and church were the centres of social activities, and a trip to town was always something to look forward to. For the last —-ahem, number of years I have lived in an older area of the town proper. Having resided in both the rural and urban areas of Kingsville, I have come to the conclusion that it is the people of the municipality that makes this area special. I think it must be something in the water. And it is not just the fish.

Kingsville has beautiful Lakeside Park with rolling hills just right for winter tobogganing, stately trees to picnic under, and a Pavilion that hosts all kinds of activities year round. It is most notably home to the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, and just a few minutes away are the historical John R. Park Homestead, and a gem that is truly a well-kept secret that must be revealed: the Canadian Transportation Museum and Village. With wineries galore, (at least 13 and growing within 20 miles) Kingsville is a destination truly worthy of any daytrip!”

So, if you are ever in my area, drop by my “little town”—it is only about 30 miles from the Windsor/Detroit border. We do not care what anyone else says—we are the southernmost point in Canada. As Christmas approaches, the town is lit up with snowflakes on our main streets, and we have the Fantasy of Lights in Lakeside Park.

Are you a big city dweller, small town girl or boy, or do you enjoy country life? What does your town do for Christmas?


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45 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This made me smile because the town meetings in my birthplace Skykomish are likewise lively. My dad was mayor for many years. Folks either loved him or hated him.

    • that is the way it goes in municipal politics–highs and lows–seems to be no medium

  2. Lovely – makes me want to visit 🙂

  3. I miss the ” know your neighbour and your neighbour’s kids and your neighbour’s parents, cousins etc.” quality of a small town. Living in Kingsville gave me a sense of roots that carries with me wherever I live. You painted a lovely picture of our little town.

    • and I cannot wait to see you in January!

      • Me too 😉

  4. Paul Simon comes from Queens, NY. and still lives in New York area I think. Enjoyed your article, and your town.

    • thank you –I did not know that–Queens is not small– guess that is what you call artistic licence

      • Paul Simon got his license at 18. He wrote a number of songs where he takes another’s voice. Worked pretty well for him.

      • sure did

  5. Sounds like we’d better add Kingsville to our itinerary next time we visit Ontario!

    • you should–let me know if you are coming and I will put on the tea or chill the beer or wine

      • Sounds fabulous! We don’t get down that way often but we do love to travel and see new places.

      • see you sometime!

  6. Kingsville sounds lovely, LouAnn. I lived in big cities most of my life – Atlanta, Boston, Miami, but now I’m living in a smallish city of about 125,000 in Colorado. I have to say that it’s my favorite. People are friendly, the town is big enough to support local art and theater and we live close enough to Denver that we can get our big city “fix” if needed. Hyde best of both worlds.

    • nice to find a friendly place that is big enough to support the arts–I live about 30 miles from Windsor-Detroit so can get my city fix whenever I want–thanks for sharing Cathy!

  7. I prefer the historic charming cozy feel of a town. But – once in a while I need a fix of big city life!

  8. It was really cool to learn about your town my friend 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. I’m a small town dweller even though I was born in a big city. It’s amazing how small towns (no matter where they are located on the globe) have so much in common 😀

  10. I’m a city girl turned country and now live in a “blink and you miss it” town with a population of only 2000 or so. Dundalk may be small but it has been a perfect place to raise children. We are not all that far from you, so maybe next summer we will have to take a drive down to your town 😃. Then we could continue on to the casino in Windsor!! LOL

  11. What does my town do for Christmas?? We ARE Christmas. I live in Bethlehem, PA, the Christmas City. There is not enough room in the comment section for me to tell you all that goes on, here! 🙂

    • wow–sounds wonderful–you should write a blog post–it being Christmas and all and you living in the Christmas City

    • We live in Wiliamsport, we can use some of your Christmas cheer!! 😀

      • come on over and I will give you a cup of cheer!

      • come on over and I will give you a cup of cheer!

      • I’m packing!!! LOL 😀

      • you want to come for a real party and not a virtual one?

      • I would love to come over for a real one…but alas…{sigh} work calls me every day!

      • ah, work–that pesky thing

  12. My husband and I do favor smaller towns, although I must admit to leaving the little town I grew up in as soon as I graduated high school. A town of 800 residents was a bit too small for a young woman.

    • yes, I left to go to school–but I came back–our town (municipality) has about 21,000 residents

      • That sounds like the perfect size. 800 is a bit too small for me, although my brother is still there and loves it.

  13. That sounds like my kind of town.. Never have been a “big city” girl but also not a “country girl”..I like your town.. Oh Canada, one day I shall travel to your fair lands 🙂

  14. I am a city gal, living in an average city, but at times a country girl at heart! Our town celebrates with a parade but it is so overcrowded that we do not go. We also have Candy Cane Lane, it used to be 4 large streets a real live Christmas Wonderland, it has gone down to two streets for years now, but just as beautiful, one display never changed since I was a girl and I still get excited to see those little elves and Santa’s toyshop. Two neighboring towns have an old fashioned Christmas, so we go there as well. The fantasy lights sound very beautiful. It would be nice to see some pictures….{hint, hint!}

    • you know, I am just going to have to have a tutorial on how to put pics on my blog when my youngest son comes home from college

      • Good, I am sure you have lots to share of your area and those Christmas lights! I will be looking forward to it.

      • I will give it the old college try–though I went to university–there seems to be no saying for that.

      • 🙂

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