Having spent many summers in southern Nova Scotia with my family frolicking in the Atlantic down at Sand Hills beach, I'm accustomed to the smell of salt water in the air and the hope that I might look out and see a whale tail or a seal cavorting with his mates in the waves. Back in Ontario, I wouldn't dare step foot in the lake in fear that a diseased five-eyed fish might chomp on my toes. When I gaze out at the lakes here, I know deep down the best thing I'll see is perhaps a seagull slamming into the water, or the fires of Mordor looking impressively menacing out near Hamilton. Suffice to say, there's a lot of smog and there's a lot of pollution.
Sure, there's some beautiful lakes up north in Cottage Country. But, sadly, I don't have a cottage and when I have tested the waters up north, I often got stung by countless swarms of black flies and mosquitos. I would frantically swat the air around me while simultaneously scratching endless mosquito bites. I really couldn't enjoy the scenery. It's a shame - I don't know how cottagers survive up there.
Nevertheless, over the last few years I've been noticing that I'm becoming very homesick for a place that was never my home. How strange is that? I've lived in Ontario my entire life, but I always feel like something just isn't quite right. I don't feel complete unless the ocean is near me. Sure, all my friends and my core family live here... but something still seems off.
I certainly know I'm happiest when I'm in the east coast of Canada. Whether it be New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland - I find my best memories have been made out east near the Ocean. Each year I count down the days when I can return to my dad's side of the family in Nova Scotia. It's such a simpler way of living out east. Everyone is always extremely friendly and laid back; such a difference from the hustle and bustle of life in Toronto.
One of the greatest vacations I've ever taken was to Newfoundland. The first night I arrived, my boyfriend and I immediately went on a whale watching boat tour off the harbour in St. John's and (no word of a lie) witnessed at least three Humpback and Minke whales. The rest of the trip generated the same breathtaking results. I even took a video of my week-long excursion here:
The rest of the week was spent touring the many museums (and bars, I won't lie ;) in St. John's and the surrounding area. It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it again. I loved the people, I loved the whales, I loved the Screech, I loved the puffins, and heck, yes, I even loved the fog.
My trip to PEI was also amazing. I remember watching the sun set over the ocean each night and the amazing red sand beaches. PEI was by far the most easygoing, mellow place I have ever visited. Oh, and the fresh seafood was to die for. I'm not even a fan of seafood, but during my trips out east it'd be almost sacrilegious not to sample some of the freshest fish available.
|A sunset I captured right outside my hotel in Summerside, PEI|
All my reminiscing aside, I know that I will probably never call the east coast of Canada my home. Even though it is my favourite place on earth, all my friends and immediate family live here in Ontario. I've grown up here, and I have just as many special memories in Mississauga, St. Catharines, and Toronto. Just once in awhile, though, I'd like to fantasize about what it would be like to wake up each morning with the fresh sea-salt smell of the nearby Atlantic in the air and the ocean breeze caressing through my long blonde hair. One can dream. :)
|Me standing on the rocks at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia|
ps - This February 14th has been declared, "I Love Nova Scotia Day" by Premier Darrell Dexter as a day to celebrate everything that is wonderful about the province. So, amid gorging on yummy Valentine's Day chocolates, I know I'll definitely take some time to reflect on all the things I love about my favourite province in Canada <3