I had the pleasure of a visit with one of my besties this weekend, and as always, our conversations turned philosophical. M and I have found ourselves on a similar path together over the past year and it’s been wonderful to discuss our ideas and share the little moments of discovery along the way.
I took a wee detour on the way home and marveled at the strange and pretty roads I’d never traveled. It struck me that The Road Not Taken might be an apt description for not only my summer travels, but the journey I’ve been on.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I found myself driving through this particular tiny village on the way home from Ipperwash Beach today. One of my favourite academics told me about this little spot over a shared pint at the Grad Club, telling me I simply must visit of the best used bookshops he’d ever seen in Southern Ontario. But I got busy, and busier, and never made it out there until now.
But my dear internet, there’s a fly in my Small Town Ontario Project ointment. Since I do most of my traveling on Sunday afternoons, the towns are already sleeping. The shops are closed, the inhabitants in the midst of their Sunday suppers, the experience is passive. That will need to shift along the way.
With that, please let me introduce you to Sylvan. One bookshop, three houses, and rolling farmland.
I picked up Jennifer Grainger’s book, Vanished Villages of Middlesex, and stayed up way too late leafing through it. Sylvan makes an appearance on pages 274-276, with Grainger noting that it was one of the most important communities in Middlesex County, and at one point at least 46 businesses. The thriving community of Sylvan died out when the lumber supplies were depleted, and then it was bypassed by the railway.