At the beginning of May I moved into a condo along the waterfront in Collingwood, in a 20-year-old development known as Rupert’s Landing.
I have sworn in the past that I would never live in a gated community, but once again my life fulfills Satre’s comment that “we become what we resist.” However, the gate appears to be broken and therefore left open most of the time, so that may not be important.
One of the most wonderful and somewhat unexpected benefits of living here is my new proximity to nature. My condo is on two storeys, facing south (so I get the sunlight all day) with a partial view of the bay toward the east. I have birch trees and red maples and a very green lawn (at the moment) to look out upon. The water level has dropped in Georgian Bay about six feet in recent years, so what was once a wave-lapped beach outside my doorstep now touches upon a reedy marsh. I would prefer proper lake water, but there’s an “enviro” dimension to having this wetland nearby, and it is the presence of all kinds of birds and animals, especially migratory birds and frogs. I wake up every morning to a cacaphony from the former and go to sleep to the calls of the latter.
I have finally found a dwelling that is the perfect synthesis of home and cottage. When I barbeque on my lower balcony (which is allowed here, and yes, there is an upper balcony replete with Adirondack chairs for morning coffee or late night scotch) I’m drinking in the full-on Georgian Bay cottage lifestyle. Well, up to a point. There’s still a bit more “home” feel than “away.”
Actually, my new digs are very similar to the timeshare resorts to which I’ve been taking my kids for about a decade. The three-storey condo buildings, with their patios and balconies, are very similar to those favored in timeshare resorts. Rupert’s Landing has tennis courts, a shuffle board deck and basketball hoop, an indoor pool and hot tub, a sauna, games room (with ping pong table), a squash court, a weight room with walking and cycling machines, etc., and a large adults-only rec room with big-screen TV and pool table, where drinks are served on late Saturday afternoons and where movies are screened regularly for residents. So it’s more like a resort than a cottage.
I mention all this mostly because of the bird song and the proximity to nature. I can see storms developing from my large picture windows and, because I neither have nor desire air conditioning, I’m often opening windows to create a cross-breeze through the apartment. When I lived in the city I used to complain that I spent a lot of time writing and editing articles to protect nature, but I didn’t spend much time experiencing it. Now I’m surrounded by it, and that inspires me when writing and editing topics on pollution prevention, waste minimization and all aspects of municipal and industrial ecology.