Pandemic postcard from Ontario

Kaye recently reached out to her friend Pat Spadafora, who is the founder of Kaleidoscope Consulting which focuses on ‘changing the way we view ageing’. Pat kindly took the time to tell us what life is like in one of YourLifeChoices’ members favourite destinations – Canada.


How long you have lived in Ancaster, Ontario?
I have lived in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. for 42 years. The village has grown quite a lot since we moved here and the current population is about 33,000.

What you love most about your hometown?
Ancaster is officially part of the Greater Hamilton Area (GHA), Ontario, a municipality of over 500,000 people.

However, to a great extent, Ancaster has retained its village identity. I love it here because I can walk outside my front door and within about 15 minutes be on the Bruce Trail (a famous hiking trail in Ontario that extends 900km from Niagara to Tobermory).

I also love being able to walk to shops, coffee shops, restaurants, etc, and almost always running into people I know. It can be difficult to do that in a larger community.

sherman fall near ancaster ontario

What you are doing right now to manage self-isolation/social distancing?
Lots of walks. It is easy to go for a walk in my immediate neighbourhood while maintaining physical distance.

Online Zumba classes. Zumba is one of my favourite activities, and many Zumba instructors are offering online classes to keep us engaged and active during the pandemic.

Connecting with friends and family through platforms such as Facebook, FaceTime, Instagram, Zoom, WhatsApp. I don’t think technology will ever replace face-to-face contact but it sure is helpful in terms of providing a way to connect during these uncertain times.

I continue to do some work, including volunteer work, whatever I can do from my computer.

I am trying, but am not always successful, to limit my consumption of news. The news is often repetitive and, while I think it is important to stay informed, it is easy to overdo it. I am trying to focus on the good news stories and the ways in which this pandemic has brought the world together.

waterfall in hamilton canada

What do you believe visitors to Ancaster would like to do when COVID-19 is over and we are back travelling?
Ancaster is adjacent to a major highway that runs from the Fort Erie, CA/Buffalo, USA border to Toronto and beyond and, as such, is a gateway to enjoying many activities and visiting beautiful sights. As I mentioned, we have easy access to the Bruce Trail for hikers and Hamilton is home to over 140 waterfalls – so, lots of natural beauty. A little further afield to the west is Niagara Falls – also many estate vineyards in Niagara – and to the east, Toronto.

Hamilton and Ancaster also have a vibrant arts, music and food scene, and craft breweries.

Your message to Aussie visitors when they finally get there?
Please visit! I think you will find Canadians warm and welcoming. There are many options within an hour of Ancaster, including natural wonders, sporting events, restaurants featuring food from all over the world, craft wineries and breweries, live theatre, music and food festivals, craft shows. There really is something for everyone.

While I can’t go beyond my neighbourhood right now, when I went for a walk the other day, a young girl on my street had posted this message on a blackboard sitting in her driveway. She said she is going to change the message every day.

blackboard message

There are many inspiring messages written in chalk on sidewalks in my neighbourhood, also people posting pictures in their front windows for children to see when they walk with their parents – a coronavirus scavenger hunt! Some people are also painting messages on stones and leaving them for children (big and small!) to find.

Have you ever visited Ancaster? Have you been to Canada? Would you like to go there?

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Written by Pat Spadafora


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