April 8, 2018

Define: "Hometown"

It’s probably unacceptable to the hair-splitters out there to call Capreol my hometown. I’m not exactly sure what the rules are for making that distinction. I only lived there for five years beginning the summer before Gr. 7 and then moving to Ohio for my Gr. 12 year.

But it was a very formative time, with adolescence being what it is, and at that point in time it was the longest I’ve ever lived in one house. My older sister also stayed behind to live there and start a family, so we returned often to rekindle acquaintances. Now, both sisters work for Cambrian College in Sudbury with my folks returning recently to settle down there as well.

There was just something about Capreol that put the small-town, Northern Ontario bug into me.

I think it was because it’s the first time I felt at home in a community. Riding my bike all over town, swimming in the river, cross-country skiing along the pole line, cheering on the Hawks at the rink, skating on outdoor ponds, toboggan bonfire parties at the ski hill. 

My first jobs were there, including driveway snow-shoveling contracts, indoor and outdoor maintenance at the seniors complex and the unforgettable times at the gas station where cleaning buses was part of the duties. You haven’t lived until you mopped out a hockey team bus after a season-ending party on the ride home.

And there was something special about being a teenager in a train town (and I’m not just talking about the steady flow of black hash flowing through the CN lines back then.)

Capreol wasn't rural by a long shot, although it was the next closest thing and only a short drive to the bush with gravel pits for bonfire parties.

It’s certainly the first place where I met life-long friends, not counting my post-secondary journey through Canadore College in North Bay.

I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again during the Capreol Days celebration on the Civic Holiday long weekend. There’s a whole crew of old chums preparing to meet up, specifically at the Saturday night party at the arena.

It’s pretty close to 35 years since most of my Capreol friends graduated high school. Should be a good reunion.

Got a Capreol or growing up in small town story to share? Email [email protected] or fill out a contact form. Leave a friendly comment if you prefer. The photo below was the Capreol badminton team. Yup.


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