Saturday, 11 March 2017


In August, 2012, leaving behind over thirty-five years of life in York Region's Thornhill, Jim and I immigrated to the Town of Uxbridge in Durham Region. Thankfully, there were no passport checks or Kellie Leitch-like screenings for Uxbridgean values before we were allowed to settle in our new home. In hindsight that is perhaps a shame because I do know the words to "Oh, Canada".

However, as "our need to belong is not rational, but is a constant that exists across all people in all cultures"*, Jim and I were not immune to immediately attempting to fit in. How to be more like a native Uxbridgean became our quest and minor obsession.

Jim first noted that just about everyone drove a shiny big GM or Ford truck, walked at least one dog and had children in hockey. We drove two Toyota SUV's, didn't have any pets and could not talk our forty plus year olds, Christopher and Matthew, into moving home and attending hockey camp. So much for that idea!

Wait! Isn't 852 the original telephone exchange for Uxbridge while we newbies are assigned 862? We'll just sweet talk old Ma Bell into changing our telephone number. We've known her for years; she should be amenable. Right? Whaaaat? She refused? So much for that idea.

One of Jim's golf buddies jokes that he has resided in the same property on a sideroad just off Lakeridge Road for twenty-five years. When answering the question of where he lives, he is always greeted with, "Oh, the old Bennett property!" If I speak of a favourite shop on Brock in the old part of town, native Uxbridgeans never fail to mention the numerous businesses that have preceded in that location. Hmmm? Could Jim and I emulate that knowledge?  Perhaps we should head to the Registry Office and study past owners and town businesses. Are you kidding me? Too much work! So much for that idea.

Responding to the words, "Have a great day", most Torontonians I know would respond with, "You, too!" Not so with native Uxbridgeans who invariably answer, "You as well", a phrase which reflects Uxbridge's Quaker history. Okay, we've got this one. "Have a great day. Happy holidays. Stay warm. Stay cool. Enjoy."  And we blurt out, "You, too". Huh? We can't help it; the words simply fall from our tongues. Why can't we automatically respond with, "You as well"? Could it be sixty-five years of GTA training? So much for that idea.

And then it happened. Walking home from a Monday matinee at our little Roxy Theatre, waving to all of the shopkeepers along the way, we came to the realization that we are indeed Uxbridgeans. It came not from a flashy truck, an 852 exchange, an extensive knowledge of our towns past or an ability to instinctively respond with "you as well". Belonging came from a deep love for our adopted little town and the knowledge that we are home. Yes! Jim and Daphne are true Uxbridgeans.

* Simon Sinek

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