We lived there for only eight months. Not since the early days in my career have I moved again so quickly. And back then, I had few items of my own. It’s a bigger deal to move these days. When I picked up some boxes, an employee at the store said, “I moved once. Never again”!
Wallaceburg is a nice town. It has everything you need, and if it doesn’t have something, that thing isn’t far away. People are friendly. Our neighbourhood was delightfully quiet and serene. Our neighbours Tom, Rita, and Jeanette are simply wonderful and I’m sad about not seeing them again. We met some really good people. Shawn, who manages a Taco Bell in Chatham and works at Leon’s. Our chiropractor, pharmacist, paint expert – so many good folks. Greg Hetherington and Robyn Brady at CKXS. (I knew Robyn prior to our move.) The first man we met was Dick Primeau, Broker of Record at Riversite Realty. Dick’s a great guy who knows everyone in town. He’s very helpful, honest and decent. His awesome colleague Barbara McCaughrin was integral to our house sale.
We particularly love The Stubby Goat on Nelson Street. The food is really good and their taco salad is my go-to order. The James St. Eatery is all moody wood and pub-like and The Black Goose is a favourite. It’s the only restaurant that’s right on the water – the Sydenham River. We went to Crabby Joe’s a few times and enjoyed it. McDonald’s was our coffee stop and there are two Tim Hortons locations. Pizza? Well, the two pizza places weren’t much different to our taste buds but the staff at Gerry’s was much nicer than those at Bill’s, so we were Gerry’s loyalists.
One of my favourite things to do was read a section in the Wallaceburg Courier Press titled What We Hear, See and Think. It’s basically a gossip column. Is there a rumour going around town about a Popeye’s Chicken franchise opening up? That’s where you’ll find it. Oh, and the chicken rumour turned out to be a dud.
WAMBO (Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing) occurred on our last weekend in town and it’s a blast. What’s not to love about cardboard boat races? Loads of antique boats and cars come in for the weekend. I met a giant pickle for goodness sake. Where else can you do that?! Wallaceburg also has a weekly farmer’s market in the core and it’s got energetic community spirit. Pretty good for a town of 13,000.
Wallaceburg’s close proximity to the US is a bonus. The Walpole Island Ferry ten minutes away gets you to Algonac, MI in 7 short minutes. Then, it’s a beautiful drive along the St. Clair River to Chesterfield or Marine City. We had a wonderful dinner at a Marina near Anchor Bay a couple of weeks ago.
Trying to hire a contractor is a challenge. Some don’t return phone calls. Others are so backed up with work, they can’t get to you for months. Fortunately, Derek is handy so he took care of most repairs himself.
There are more drugs and more crime than you might associate with a town of this size. Is that a fair statement? I’m not sure. Although I grew up in a small town, I haven’t lived in one in many years. We didn’t see any of the reported drug-and-crime problems in our part of town but we certainly read about it.
I’m sure this is the case in any small town: people look at you in a way that’s hard to define. It feels, from the receiving end, like we’re from another planet and it’s followed by a broad smile and – relief? – when they find out you’re friendly. I didn’t say anything about it to Derek until one of our last days in town. And he readily agreed that it’s there.
Bugs! Dragonflies the size of birds were fun to watch but mosquitoes the size of dragonflies, not so much. And spiders. I’ve never seen so many spiders, perhaps because we were close to water. Some were as big as my thumb and in another context, would send me running for cover. I matured in my spider-hating ways. Oh, to be sure, I killed several in the house and asked Derek to do the same. But a couple of biggies outside were allowed to live. I was able to look at them without experiencing a full-body shiver or grabbing the nearest implement and that’s progress!
The pros outnumber the cons by a wide margin. I like Wallaceburg and I don’t regret moving there. I’m choosing to view it as an experience we needed to have. Circumstances beyond our control changed and now we need to change with them. I wanted to shake things up so consider them shaken!