Orillia The Good

(Re-posting a previous post, for no particular reason)

I think you should include Orillia in your future travel plans.

Why would you not? It was the home of Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen Leacock, Rick Ley, and Dino’s pool hall for goodness sakes. It’s historic.

In Bobby Orr’s book “Orr, My Story”, he says his hockey school with Mike Walton was in the Muskokas. It wasn’t. It was just outside Orillia, which is below the Muskokas.

In fact, the only time he mentioned Orillia was when he said his former agent and ex-friend Alan Eagleson had a cottage near there.

It took Gordon Lightfoot about twenty years into his career before saying he was from Orillia and not Toronto.

Stephen Leacock changed the name from Orillia to Mariposa in his book “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”.

Dino’s pool hall burned down.

Rick Ley has always seemed a proud Orillian, even though he hasn’t lived there since the 1960s..

My ongoing unofficial poll, which I’ve conducted for years, asks old friends who now live in places not called Orillia. “Could you ever live in Orillia again?”, to which about 98% say no.

I could, I think. But maybe not.

And about the Lightfoot thing, maybe it didn’t help that a guy I knew went in through an unlocked back door at a Lightfoot concert at Orillia’s Opera House and stole Gordon’s or one of the band member’s leather jacket. It must have put a sour taste in Gordon’s mouth, which is understandable.

Below, Gordon’s boyhood home in Orillia.



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11 thoughts on “Orillia The Good”

  1. Good post. 😀 Sums it up nicely.

    We have left and come back a few times, but this last time was the last. As soon as our responsibilities here are over, we are back on the Island so fast we probably won’t even notice Saskatchewan going by. Can hardly wait!

    You can’t go home again, Dennis. It’s never the same.

  2. I’m not from Orillia, but have also left my home town and agree with Randy that you can’t go home again.

    More apropos clichés? Home is where the heart is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  3. I think Peterborough would be a good place to live. Not too big and not too small. Most appealing is its location, only a few hours from Orillia, Toronto, and Ottawa, and an easy drive to Kingston and even Montreal. They have a junior team, a university, and many of the locals are long time Habs fans as the Petes used to belong to the Habs, and the local TV station was broadcasting Habs games as far back as the 1950s.

  4. Orillia is my home town. I was born @ OSMH and will be buried by Mundells in St. Andrews cemetery. Every thing I have ever done happened in this little town situated on two beautiful lakes and two ski resorts.It is one hour from Toronto. All my family live here along with 8 grandchildren. My life is an open book and I like it like that. I have a memory connected to all the streets,all the houses and all the people, the lakes, and the architecture I love this beautiful little town and am glad I came back here after making several serious attempts to start my life over on the West coast.
    It is true we do not have mountains or an ocean view but I actually feel homesick if I leave this place now.So I say come home.

  5. Like your post Dennis. The streets,cars, storefronts. hydro wires for squirrels. But the memories of those days seem to bring tears of “Where did life go”? Guess walmart and the home depot replaced Jack at the local Skinners Hardware. Jim’s tailors got replaced by Wally Mart. And Frank’s Esso $40 shop rate in 2015 sits empty due to ill health/old age. And a thing from the insurance company to plug into some gizzmo under the dash to monitor driving habits——-IF you have a 1998 or newer piece of junk——- pray tell WHY would I want to drive a 4 wheel malfuntioning computer box on our roads? But # 27 Gal-chuyk was told he gonna be our centre. You gonna make bo-boos, but we gonna keep you at centre. So much for that promise!! EVERY one of our young guys are being ruined—shattered by Thornbush’s lack of offensive minded creativity . Did coach tell P.K. to stop his offensive game and just play defense? Is dat de frustration in P.K.’s comments recently? Habs are similar to OUR Small Town Canada——The Boss “……and I hope when I get old, I don’t but I probably will…sit and talk about Glory Days” Yeah, other teams are developing their draft picks into contenders while we watch the Leafs pass us in the here and now. Happy boycotting the games folks.

  6. P.S. Sorry to get sidetracked there. I grew up in rural gravel roads Ont. Going “to town” was a thrill, how ever rare. Small town Ont will forever fill me with memories of a by-gone era. And the big thrill is discovering folks—rural and/or town—who still have the values of those days. My challenge is what legacy am I making/leaving for those who come/came after me.

  7. I mentioned before that my son moved to Orillia in November and over the Christmas break we U-hauled his stuff from Thunder Bay to his future in-laws arriving on New Year’s Eve day. They had snow and it was cold so I only got a brief tour of the town. I know we’ll be making more trips back in the future. Driving back home on New Year’s Day I passed over the Nipigon bridge just a week or so before it got a lot of attention for a scary reason. If you haven’t heard about it just Google it. I also drove over that bridge in Minneapolis a month before it collapsed! Maybe I should avoid bridges?

  8. D-John, you’d better stay away from the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. You need to see Orillia in summer and I hope you do. It’s a great place, although Torontonians love to come up with their boats and steal the women.

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