Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The House that Built Me - Part 1

  I was born in Southern Ontario and lived there for the first 9 years of my life. Both of my parents were born and raised in Northern Ontario and decided they wanted to move back up north to be closer to their families. My Dad  found a job working in a large mining company as a plant foreman in North Bay, so that’s where we were headed.

  We packed all our belongings, moved up north, and rented a house in the city while my parents looked for a place to purchase. They wanted a quiet place in the country and preferably on a lake. The near north, as they call that area, is dotted with lakes – some large and some small.

  I’ll never forget the day we drove out to the country…it seemed like we drove forever before we turned off the main highway and onto a secondary highway which led to the tiny French village of Bonfield, which is situated on the north shore of Lake Nosbonsing. The first thing I remember seeing was a tiny damn with a little waterfall beside a park and train tracks – lots of train tracks! We  took the first bend in the road, crossed the tracks, and on to another sharp bend which had a general store to the left. The store was located in an old house with the owners living quarters in the back. It was a typical  farmhouse style with green wood siding and the store at the front. It’s no longer there but I can still picture it in my mind.

Photo of Bonfield Ontario

  We drove through the town and turned on a small dirt road that followed the west side of the lake. We crossed an old rusty iron bridge, crossed the tracks again, and drove about a quarter of a mile along the lakeside before turning into another small road that was more like a driveway entrance to a string of cottages on the lake. The train tracks ran between the dirt road and row of cottages that faced the lake,so we had to cross the tracks again on the driveway before finding the cottage where we were to meet the real estate agent.

Even though I was only nine years old, I remember thinking that this was not the kind of place that I wanted to live. It was the boonies and I didn’t even know what the boonies where then! I was used to living in a large city in nice homes, in nice suburbs, not a tiny town out in the bush! But of course it wasn’t up to me.

  We pulled into the end of the long driveway where we met the real estate agent. I couldn’t believe that my parents were even looking at a place like that! It was no more than a shack as far as I was concerned. It looked horrible on the outside and I could only imagine what the inside looked like.

  We got out of the car and followed the agent inside. I was right! The place was horrible! There was an old oil furnace in the middle of the main room which had spewed black soot all over the ceiling. There was only 1 small bedroom, a tiny bathroom with a shower stall, and small kitchen. The only redeeming quality it had, was it was on the lake. But even the front yard leading to the lake was in dire need of work as the man who owned it, only used it as a party place and had gravel poured on the front lawn to use for parking.

 Dad listened to the agent tell him about the property and cottage while Mom and I snuck away. When we were back in the car, Mom and I looked at each other and both said “No way are we living here!”  Dad came back to the car and we drove back to the city. I thought that would be the end of it and I would never see that little shack again. Boy was I wrong! …..to be continued.


  1. Hmmm...staying tuned sweet Connie!

  2. Please continue this story, sounds exciting ;-)