A Good Home, Bowmanville, Local credit union DUCA, Small towns

Storytime in Small-Town Ontario

If anyone wants to know why Bowmanville, a historic town east of Toronto, is becoming so popular with young families, retirees and those in-between — many moving from big centres — the pictures below are one reason:

Blog Photo - Father and Children at DUCA Storytime

Would you believe we’re in a bank?

Yes, and it’s Storytime!

Author Viki McDonald (“Coach Tate and Team Triple 8”) and I were invited to read our stories at Bowmanville’s DUCA credit union.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Vikki reading at DUCA

Blog Photo - Children and Storytime at DUCA1

Children and their parents sat comfortably on the blankets and comforters that the DUCA staff had spread on the floor.

Blog Photo - Girl listens at DUCA storytime

Blog Photo - Parents listens at DUCA storytime

Vikki and I sat in chairs made even more comfy with quilts that were made by the mother of DUCA manager Karen.

Are you feeling the small-town spirit yet?

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads book at DUCA storytime

We’d stop at times and ask the children questions about the storylines and they’d shout back answers, sometimes making everybody laugh.

Cupcakes and cookies were served.

The idea for a storytime came from staffer Meeghan, and was quickly accepted by Karen and the other staff. They approached me shortly after Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published. I was surprised, but also delighted.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Timea at DUCA
Young Bowmanville resident Timea Williams with Cynthia Reyes

And now I’m going to embarrass myself a little.  When I first moved to this region a few years ago, I dropped into the DUCA branch. Taken aback by their kindness, I blurted out: “Are people here always THIS friendly?”

As you may know, I struggle with issues from a car accident, and one of them is that my brain doesn’t always co-operate with tasks that were once ridiculously easy. I also sometimes stutter and can’t get the words out clearly.  But the DUCA staff took it all in stride, and when my book “An Honest House” (which describes my efforts to learn to live with those issues) was published, I went in to share the news.

Their reaction was such that you would have thought I was family.

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads to children at DUCA

So as I think about it, perhaps Storytime in a bank — authors reading their stories and young families seated happily on the floor, listening — makes perfect sense.

And we all loved it. 

Thank you, DUCA staff! You’re wonderful.

Photos by Hamlin Grange.


A Good Home, Autumn leaves, Farmers' Markets, Heritage nieghborhoods, Maples, Natural products, Small towns, Villages

Natural Goodness Available Here

Photos by Hamlin Grange

I’m a sucker for certain things.

Like autumn days, farmers markets, natural products and villages.

So I’m smiling as I write this. A huge smile.

Blog Photo - Farmers market leaves on ground

My husband and I recently visited one of Ontario’s best-preserved villages: Unionville, northeast of Toronto. Founded in 1794, Unionville’s charm draws visitors from far and wide.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Village Street and autumn leaves

But for the families who live here, it’s home.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Old house

Some of our friends have lived here for decades – so Unionville is a very familiar place.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Village Church

There are restaurants and specialty shops on the main street.

Blog Photo - Farmers market Story Street and pedestrians

An art gallery, churches and a square with live music every summer.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Unionville Village Square

One of our favourite spots is the farmers’ market. Held outdoors in the summer, it moves indoors into the old Stiver Mill in the fall.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Barn

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Sign and Vendors

Here, one can buy a wide variety of products – such as honey, fruit preserves and baked goods….

Blog Photo - Farmers Market The Strudel Guy

Blog Photo - Famers market Corey holds strudel

Trout, sausages and other smoked fish and meat….

Blog Photo - Farmers Market smoked Goods display and customers

And wine…..

Blog Photo - Farmers Market  Wine sign

Blog Photo - Farmers market Wine Vendor

Goodies galore and vendors with interesting stories.

That’s one of the reasons I like farmers’ markets: the people selling the products are often the same ones who grew or made them. They’re usually happy to chat.

Hilda Crick-McDermott worked for an international chain of luxury hotels and traveled to many parts of the world.

Blog Photo - Farmers market Hilda and Customer

When her son developed a skincare ailment called Kawasaki disease, she started making natural products for his skin.

“I struggled to find a natural product good enough to help my eczema-ridden kids, yet pure enough to be trusted for their dry and sensitive skin. I even wrote to a skin care manufacturer asking for help, but that resulted in rejection.”

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Hilda's Products

That rejection led to extensive research and eventually, a whole line of products, made by hand. Some ingredients used are: coconut oil, shea butter, peppermint and lavender.

Blog Photo - Farmers market LotionHilda says 90% of her SpaHket products are “anhydrous solid lotion; this means our lotions contain no water and as such are 100% pure natural goodness.” 

Yes — I tried Hilda’s products. They really are as soothing and fragrant as she says. They’re not cheap, but a little goes a long way.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Shampoo Bars

Facing challenges, some see opportunity. Hilda seems likes such a person.

Her three children have done enormously well in school, she says contentedly.

Somehow, I was not surprised when she quietly added: “They were home-schooled.”

Blog Photo - Farmers market CR and Hilda

**Dedicated to all resourceful people.**

More about Stiver Mill Farmers’ Market:


More about SpaHket products: