Home, Home on the Lake

16:06 Natasmack 0 Comments

I've moved every two years when I was growing up. I mostly moved around Sarnia Ontario until I moved west. After my Mom dragged my Step Dad around the world, living in exotic and crazy places; she gave Paul an option. He could pick anywhere in the world to live and he picked our hometown, Sarnia.

I haven't been back to Sarnia in 10 years. I've visited briefly but I haven't spent a significant amount of time there. You're probably wondering where Sarnia is and you're probably calling it Narnia. Sarnia has a population of 73, 000 (2011) and is located in Southwestern Ontario, between the where Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River. 

Sarnia is known for the petroleum refining plants and is also often referred to as Chemical Valley. A stranger once told me that every person he met from Sarnia happened to be very good-looking. I know for fact that this wasn't a lame pick up line. I gave it some thought and decided hell ya, we are a good-looking group of people! I thought it was because we lived by a beautiful crystal blue lake, or that we get some awesome sunshine in the summer. After learning that Sarnia has one of the highest levels of air pollution particulates in any Canadian city, I am starting to think that we are more like mutants and less like beach god's and goddesses. With some research I found that the chemical plants have put effort into changing that statistic and the air care is improving. A for effort Chemical Valley.  

When I arrived to my parents adorable house, I noticed that there were two dutch cruisers sitting in the garage. It only was a few hours before I snagged one and went on a Sarnia tour. When I was living here, biking was my number one form of transportation. My closest friends and I would girl gang cruise around the city hitting up all our favourite spots. After a day of school we usually would bike through Canatara Park. Riding as fast as we could through the nature trails singing at the top of our lungs and sharing weird stories about the creepy Underwear Man who allegedly lived in the forest, leaving his underwear in the trees. 

The summers in Sarnia are one of the best. The temperature rises, and everyone turns into a beach bum. Lake Huron and the St. Clair river are a beautiful crystal blue colour that is so inviting it would be a shame not to jump into the cool waters. Years ago, my friends and I spent everyday at a beach called the Cove we would dance on the rocks to our own renditions of Michael Jackson, Grease The Musical and the Ramones- who I was quite passionate about. The Cove is close to the Sarnia Marina, and is only a few minute bike ride to the Bluewater Bridge. 

Just across the Saint Clair River is Michigan state. Not much is keeping us apart, you can wave to our neighbours and they will most likely wave back. You could swim over if you really wanted to risk it, but for us less daring folk; we take the Bluewater Bridge to get our US of A needs. This bridge is a hub for summer activities. Albert's Rolling Lunch is Sarnia's best known fry truck and located under the bridge. It would school any fancy food truck that you might come across now. Albert's used to have a white vinegar hose that the fantastic fry specialists would spray all over your lunch at your request. I had a dream of spraying my own fries with that hose. They have now replaced the hose with a spray bottle. Bummer. 

After a fatty lunch we would burn it off while doing river runs. Starting on the far right side of the bridge we would jump in and let the current take us under and to the opposite side where we would get out and start again. We could do this for hours before it was time to go home for dinner. I once shared with my protective Father that river runs were my favourite summer activity. He immediately drove me to the bridge and made me explain how to do a river run. He warned me about how dangerous it was and made me promise id never do it again. I couldn't keep that promise.

Biking through my old hoods and checking in on the most memorable houses that I lived in jogged my memory of all the fun I had here. I was reminded of all the great pizzerias, how the citizens take hallowe'en seriously, the hockey teams, and all the Tim Hortins I used to loiter in. I often wonder who I would be if I grew up in Sarnia. I probably wouldn't have the travel bug, I wouldn't have intense cravings for beautiful hikes with breathtaking views and this blog probably wouldn't exist. Being close to my family is important to me, and it was hard growing up away from them but it doesn't mean I'll never come back. I am thankful for my East/West Canadian mix, I get to leave a piece of myself in some of the best places.