A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The End of an Era

It is 1400 acres of Canadian wilderness - mountainside and marshland. To be fortunate enough to feast one's eyes upon the pristine beauty it offers up, one has to travel kilometres along a gravel road that ends in a private gate where only the residents have a key.

There are great expanses of lawn, a small number of houses and small buildings, a duck pond, a waterfall and a creek. There is a dirt road that winds around to where there once stood a boathouse at the edge of a side arm of the Pitt Lake.

The History

The property was originally owned by a wealthy family. In later years, they used it as a sort of weekend retreat for themselves and their duck hunter friends. There was a caretaker there for years, but when that person moved on, my mother and her then partner were asked to take over.

A few years later, the property was sold to local government. The government has kept this property as a sort of reserve and has only rented out the residences on the land, and it gains income by letting movie companies film there. The Twilight movies were filmed in the meadow only metres away from the houses.

Not long after my mom and her partner had moved in, my dad  began renting the small cottage only metres from their front door. Even after divorce, my parents always remained good friends, it's a good thing too, because the circumstance was certainly unique.

Eventually, my mom and her partner parted ways and they both moved away from the property. After Mom passed away a few years later, my sister and her husband moved into one of the residences, to be closer to my dad.

The Memories

My family has been linked to this property for more than 20 years now. Many of my memories have this setting as their backdrop:
  • I confirmed my choice - When I first met Will, how I confirmed that he was for me was his reaction upon first visiting this property (the dogs had to like him too, but appreciating the property was the clincher)
  • We celebrated our engagement - After we had done some travelling and had become engaged, we returned to Canada for a visit, and my mom threw a big engagement party here.
  • My nephews spent their summers - During their formative years, my nephews, who are now grown, spent all their summers at this property. They fished, hiked, enjoyed their Grandma's home cooking and spent quality time with their Grandpa.
  • We dipped our baby's toes in the waterfall - On another trip home, we took our oldest son up to the waterfall and dipped his toes in the frigid waters, much to his delight.
  • Many friends old and new have shared a meal and a laugh - when you live in a place such as this, you want to share it with your friends and loved ones. My mother used to love to cook and often there would be visitors, so we would all enjoy her delicious meals with good wine, good conversation, the fire in the fireplace and timeless melodies coming from the stereo.
  • Dad spent his golden years here - Dad always loved this place, and I love that he got to see out his final years in such a place of beauty.
  • New life was welcomed here - My one-year-old twin nieces spent their first year of life here. They played on the lawn and splashed in a paddle pool overlooking the best view on earth.
  • I've grieved for the loss of both parents - I came here to heal my grieving heart when my mom passed away unexpectedly and then again a few years later when my father's passing was imminent. I have walked the boathouse road many, many times and it always offers me a feeling of peace and serenity, even in sorrowful times.

Times they are a changin'

Now that my dad has passed away, my sister and her husband have decided that the commute and the isolation are taking their toll. With two toddler girls, it's important that they have opportunities to have play dates and go to playgroup. Living on this property is not conducive to that. The pothole-filled gravel road shortens the lifespan of any vehicle that travels it regularly, and during winter, residents can be snowed in for days without electricity.

It is time for change, so my sister and her family have handed back the keys to the gate and have said farewell to this place of beauty in favour of their own home closer to the conveniences of urban life. My sister's currently enjoying the high speed internet and my nieces are enjoying walks in their new neighbourhood and playing in their new yard. My brother-in-law is also enjoying the shorter commutes to pick up his daughter for her visits every other weekend.

I can see all the reasons that this move will be great for my sister and her family, but for me it is a sad time. It is the end of an era, a closing of a door. I take solace in the fact that I still have a key to the gate (shhh, don't tell anyone), and even though I would never go back there without permission, it feels as if my link to the property still exists.

Here is a slide show of some photos that have been taken at the property over the years. Some I have shared with you before, and some are new. For some reason I have photos from every season except spring. You'll have to trust me when I say that spring at the property is equally spectacular.

I know that these memories are probably only interesting to me and my family, but I hope you enjoy a few moments with a cup of coffee and some brilliant views of the place I've called home for the last couple of decades.


  1. What a beautiful place to have connected with your memories of family and special events in your life.

    The photos are spectacular. Sending hugs your way as you say goodbye to such a special setting. xx

  2. What a beautiful place. It's easy to see how you can be so attached. I guess all good things come to an end ~ but it doesn't make it any easier.

  3. A beautiful story for a beautiful place!!! A great way to remember all your memories of a special place. It reminds of a special connection with my home in Canada. If you don't mind me asking where in Canada this is? I recently started following your blog and really enjoy your honesty and humor.

  4. Thanks Susan and Caz, it wasn't surprising that this move was coming, so I've had a chance to get used to the idea. It's just the visits back home that will be hard (not that we get to visit often) if we can't return to this place.

    Cheyenne, this place is on the outskirts of Vancouver. Thanks for following. Where do you come from in Canada? It must be so very different from where you're living now.

  5. I was born in a small town 3 hours north of Toronto. Yes - it is very different here for sure - although we love it. I did spend a lot of time on the BC Alaska border and my mom has family in Pinticton - the other side of the mountains east of Vancouver and Ihave a half brother in Victoria. I hope to make it back there to spend more time.

  6. Snap! My primary school days were spent in Elliot Lake and Sudbury.

    I would also love to take my children back to Canada for a visit now that they're older and can appreciate and remember it.

  7. That was just beautiful!! I had goosebumps watching the slide show

  8. Anna, goosebumps? I thought that was just me. I definitely count myself so very fortunate to have had this place in my memories.


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