Small town living…

These days I live about half an hour away from the capital of Canada, Ottawa, in a little town of 5,000. Small and picturesque, Almonte has a river running through it, two sets of waterfalls and miles of green space surrounding it.

For 30 years I lived, studied and worked in the centre of Ottawa, which has close to a million inhabitants and serves as the seat of the federal government. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle and all the culture and diversity that Ottawa had to offer — and before that thrived on the tempo of two other big Canadian cities — Toronto and Montreal. So I’ve always considered myself a big city kind of gal.

Today life in Almonte with its slow unhurried pace couldn’t be more of  a contrast. But there is much to appreciate in small town living.

I’m excited by how Almonte continues to develop into a small hub of creativity as artists and craftspeople open up shops and galleries. The beautiful stone buildings on our historic main street preserve our past as a textile mill town and have been converted into restaurants, galleries and unusual apartments.

The old Post Office was designed by the same architect who built the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and now houses a lovely marble floored restaurant and a new outdoor patio. The clock you can see throughout the town is the original one, which is maintained by a local volunteer. The falls on the river that powered the mills now create our electricity in a green manner.

I never tire of showing off my town to friends from the city and from other parts of the country and the world. This super short video (49 seconds) gives a flavour of one such recent visit.  I invite you to have a look. I hope to capture more of Almonte in future videos.

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A few days in Prince Edward County…

I’m taking a video course this summer (Make Films with Xanthe Berkeley), so in an effort to improve my skills, I put together a three-minute video. I wanted to capture a recent visit to Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (PEC) for a family getaway in moving pictures as well as stills this time.

I’m a big fan of the County as locals call it, which is really a beautiful island, and I adore islands, as many of you know. In past summers, we’ve sailed around it, using Waupoos Marina as our base.

But PEC is also an up-and-coming Ontario wine region, which is producing award-winning wines and becoming a preferred destination for wine lovers and foodies from the nearby big urban centres of Toronto and Ottawa. However, even with its success and newfound popularity, it hasn’t lost its “realness,” its friendliness or its old-fashioned charm.

You can still find boxes by the side of the road where you can leave your money for produce on the honour system.

In wineries throughout the county, you can still meet with the actual owners/winemakers who are more than pleased to pour their wine for you and share their passion for what they make and how they make it.

Prince Edward County is also home to three of the best beaches in Canada. As youngsters my sister and I spent many a happy day at Sandbanks and we decided to go back for another visit, this time with cameras. It did not disappoint.

On top of that, there’s lots of great restaurants and places for food lovers to satisfy all their desires. We were only there for a couple of days but I still couldn’t cram all the places we went to in this short little video. I may have to do another post…

A few days in wine country — Prince Edward County, Ontario from Sherry Galey on Vimeo.