I’ve been in Thornbury, ON this week visiting my mom. It’s the town where I grew up, where I spent the first 19 years of my life. It’s where I learned to drive a car, learned to ski, had my first job, gradulated from high school, etc., etc. I both love and hate coming back here. I love it because of course there is a level of familiarity that perhaps only comes through your experiences with a place as a child. I just innately know many things about this town, its back roads and its inhabitants and I have so many stories…… But I also hate coming back because as this town changes I don’t know how to feel about it anymore.
I find myself driving past what is now a parking lot thinking it should be the curling rink. And yet that rink was torn down more than a decade ago. When I drive out of town I am overcome with a sense of loss when I see that where there used to be apple orchards there is now a golf course. I actually laughed aloud at the men in their polo shirts and khaki pants. I don’t know why it seems to ridiculous and out of place to be hitting a ball around a manicured lawn here, in my hometown, but it does. It’s as though I expect Thornbury today to look like Thornbury did in the 1980s. Even then it was a haven for moneyed Torontonians but it seems to have worsened over the last decade. Ben says I am just seeing Ontario through my Yukon lens but I dunno.
At least Wong’s Restaraunt is still anchoring the corner of Bruce Street and Highway 26. Although I heard a rumour that the family is trying to sell.
The Pagoda Restaurant, on the other hand, which was once directly across the street from Wong’s in my one-block town, seems to have been replaced with an expensive fru-fru clothing store.
I know, I know…time marches on. And it’s not like I don’t want things to change and to evolve. It’s just, well, I’m nostalgic I guess. Much of the new Thornbury gets me down.