I grew up in Brockville, left for bigger cities and when presented with an opportunity to return to Brockville to live and work, I was surprised at how happy I was to be back. I think there are a number of us, returning ex-pats. I immediately felt embraced by the community and excited to be back on the river. Growing up here, I didn’t realize how much the river was part of our identity, I even got my brother in another city into St. Lawrence River shipwatching!
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville area is unique in the river and rural landscape, - the cross-section of rural and small towns. Even though there is distance between each town or village we are very much connected (to the people in our neighbouring communities like one big community). We are truly neighbours – we all have friends and family who live, work and commute through the L&G communities, we visit and support each other, participate in each other’s events and activities, are aware of what’s happening down the road etc. (ex. cousins, friends in Athens, I often work with cohorts in neighbouring communities, we play hockey (and other sports) with them, we know who they are and what they do.)
It seems like everyone knows everyone! Like 6 degrees of separation… I recently moved to a new neighbourhood, and unknowingly knew my new neighbours, my sister and aunt knew some of them and they her, and so on. It’s funny how we’re all connected.
I’ve also found myself surprised by the rich art history and the flourishing arts community! There are so many authors, artisan crafters, painters, sculptors and photographers! This is really a great place to be.