Cannington… “in the heart of Ontario”… so says our sign.

Alison Bennie

"After having lived here for the last 15 years, I consider myself so lucky that I have this park to walk in and enjoy."

Cannington is a small, picturesque town in Brock Township, in an area known as North Durham. If you’re driving in from the south, you will turn right at the corner of “12 and 12” (as the locals say), which is Hwy. 12 – the road you’d be driving on and Concession 12, and before you know it, you’ll be in Cannington. 

Before I go any further, I need to point out that Cannington has FREE parking. Yes, absolutely FREE. You gotta love that! Secondly, our downtown core is basically two and a half blocks long, so you can park and walk everywhere. And thirdly, our little town has just about one of everything you’d need within those two and a half blocks, so one would rarely have to leave town, which is especially helpful now in this time of COVID-19. My suggestion: park your car as soon as you can and just start walking. There’s a parking lot and GO bus stop at the start of the shopping area, so that’s a great place to get out and stretch your legs.

Sauntering along, you’ll see on your right The Locker Restaurant and Pub, which is not just the local watering hole, but also a family restaurant which schedules live music occasionally on the weekends. Like the other restaurants in town, they are strictly doing takeout while we all practice social distancing. They like to promote local talent, which I genuinely appreciate, and have seen Hunter Sheridan perform here a few times. Across the road you’ll find Papa Enrico’s Pizza  –  great pizza, friendly owners – ‘nuff said.  The Wing House next door has over 100 flavours of tasty wings and is also a great family restaurant with more TVs than I thought possible in one room. I am attempting to work my way through the flavours and so far the Cool Thai is my favourite! They are currently offering take-out for everybody AND a delivery service to Cannington residents only (lucky us). Just a few doors down, you’ll find Holy Grounds Café which is currently closed for renovations, but when open serves up a good cuppa java and breakfast. Cross the street once more, and you’ll find Giorgio’s Restaurant serving breakfast to the early rising farmers in the area and typical diner fare. Next door is May’s Chinese Restaurant, which does a bustling takeout. My dad is crazy for their fried noodles. I know … you’re thinking, “Wow, such a small town, so many restaurants!” Well, you’re right, I think that too, but they all have their unique appeal, and as someone that does the bulk of (okay ALL) the cooking in my house, I can honestly say that I appreciate having the choice when I’m not in the mood for cooking.

The other service we’re not short of (pun intended) in town are hair salons. You’ll find Just For Me Salon & Spa and Sage & Rock Hair Studio both on the main street, and if you head south on Laidlaw from the main road, you’ll find All About Hair. Well-groomed and well-fed are we in Cannington! They’re all slightly different, so you would have to find the one that suits you best. I can’t make up my mind so I use two of the three, switching back and forth.

Cross the street again (are you getting dizzy yet?), and you’ll come across one of my favourite stores and the best smelling in town, The Wild Garden. They’re predominantly a florist but also have unique gifts and antiques. Fun fact: they sell and promote Native plants for your garden. I’m hoping to take advantage of this at some point when I start my spring gardening. I’m a low maintenance gal and want my garden to reflect that. Owned by Scott Turner and Richard Dickinson, these guys have done such a great job. Richard is also a writer and plant specialist and has co-authored several books including, Plants of Southern Ontario, The ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers on Ontario, Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States, and Plants of Alberta. I have seen some of these for sale in their store if you’re interested in picking up one or two.

One of the reasons I love Cannington and moved here from Toronto are the Victorian houses, which happen to be my favourite architectural style. Visitors to Cannington often remark about the beauty of our village; its grand Victorian-era architecture and tree-lined streets. You’ll see examples of this as you continue your promenade east past Foodland, and if you venture down any of the next couple of streets on the right, you’ll find yourself in picturesque MacLeod Park.

Historical log building in Cannington's pioneer villageThis is one great park! I love walking my dogs here, and I love having such a big green space to use. It has the lazy Beaver River running through it, 3 different playground areas for the smaller children, tennis courts, picnic shelter areas, and it is also home to the Cannington Historical Society’s pioneer village. I feel a part of history when I take a walk past the log houses that form part of this area. After having lived here for the last 15 years, I consider myself so lucky that I have this park to walk in and enjoy. And the best part of it is, it’s never crowded!

The park also features 2 baseball diamonds, the Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre and arena (named after the NHL hockey star who grew up here), and a large skatepark at the far end. I’ve discovered some interesting graffiti on the walls there . . . some talented, creative efforts and others, well, not so much. The Cannington Horticultural Society also maintains a walking/nature trail that winds around the east end of the park beside the river and skirts the outside edges of the park. I am very thankful for all their efforts regarding this and a shining example of the community spirit you’ll find in this small town.  If you walk far enough, you can eventually find your way to the Beaver Wetlands Trail which runs along a portion of an abandoned railway bed. The trail is great for wildlife sightings, hiking, cycling, and cross country skiing. I have spotted deer and rabbits here and yes, one bear, though not lately. No motorized vehicles are allowed except snowmobiles. If you’re up to it, you can walk all the way to Sunderland, which is about 13 km away on this trail. Just remember to get someone to pick you up at the other end unless you want to walk 13 km back! Unfortunately, most of these areas are currently off-limits due to COVID-19.

So, if you’re looking for a little adventure and feel like exploring, please drop by. We’d love to see you… at least from 2 metres away!