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What I See When I See Smiths Falls – Part 3

You can find Part 1 & Part 2 here.


After 17 years and nearly a thousand round trips, I could drive from Burritt’s Rapids to Smiths Falls with my eyes closed. But why would I want to?

I mark my good fortune by the totemic houses, gardens, people, signs, and nature that pass before my eyes, the spirits of memory and place that are the roadmap to my happiness.

The stone house and farm at Rosedale Road, trimmed in goldenrod and oxblood, a seasonal almanac of shifting signs (Strawberries! Beans! Pumpkins!)

An undulating field of horses radiant under summer sun.

A glimpse of the river – choppy or frozen or sparkling – clocking the passage of time.

The 50 km/h sign where I slam on my brakes.

The yard lovingly peopled by a crowd of seasonal decorations.

The NASA house, a multi-storied modernist in corrugated steel.

Shardon Manor with its phantom-people perched on barren stairs, watching, waiting.

Sprawling houses set on scissor-cut lawns.

Tree-sentries witnessing at old Rideau Regional.

The split-level’s stone arch and Gothic wooden gate.

A pair of cottages voluptuous with window boxes.

The two-toned shingled porch on a property brought back to life.

Candles in the windows of the mansion on the corner, casting off the winter darkness.

And suddenly here I am.

I pull into the driveway of my second home, climb its five wooden stairs and cross the threshold of the people who love me as plainly and deeply as I’ve ever been loved in my life.

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What I See When I See Smiths Falls – Part 2

This is the second in a series of visual love letters to Smiths Falls, one of my favourite towns in Eastern Ontario.

You can find the first installment here.

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What I See When I See Smiths Falls

This is the first in a series of visual love letters to Smiths Falls, one of my favourite towns.


I’m from Vancouver, and while there are great things about the westcoast, I have called rural Ottawa home for the past 20 years.

The single best thing I love about living in the east is the riches of small towns and villages, roads that lead everywhere, chalk-full of opportunities to stop, talk to people, poke around and discover. Smiths Falls, just 20 minutes from where we live, has been my second home since the birth of our first child, when my in-laws sold up in Sudbury and moved to be close to us. Continue reading What I See When I See Smiths Falls

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