Sunday, December 14, 2008

Recession watch

Welcome to Terrace Bay, Ontario, on the beautiful shore of Lake Superior. First-class fishing, hunting and boating. A very nice 18-hole golf course. Winter sports galore. Friendly people in a cosy small-town.
After six years of an economic slump, air service to the outside world is gone. VIA took off the last train years ago. Greyhound still runs through, but these are the transcontinental buses, and after a few days some of the passengers can be a bit high-smelling and a little, um, testy.
When I was a kid, any sentient being could get a well-paying job in Terrace Bay. I schlepped beer in a basement bar there in 1977 and made as much as a newly-minted school teacher. The lumber and pulp mill paid even more. And the railway, centred eight miles away in Schreiber, paid more than the mill.
The railway has been cutting for years. The pulp and lumber industry is hurt by the McGuinty government's high Hydro rates (even though Terrace Bay has its own large Hydro generating operation built for the mill that actually covers the mill's consumption and exports power to the grid) and by the feds' inability to get a real softwood deal with the Americans (try this, guys: access to Alberta energy for fair Canadian access to the US market. Wasn't that what the FTA was supposed to be about?).
I can say with no sarcasm that, once you get over the climate, the North Shore of Lake Superior is the most beautiful part of Ontario. It's even more gorgeous than the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
Want to live there?
Sell your car and buy a house in Terrace Bay.
After all, you may well be looking at the future of us all, and people there have already learned how to live with recession.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the North Shore is staggeringly beautiful, and if you dress for the weather, you'll be fine, er, well, um, I guess it depends on what you can tolerate. Outdoor recreation is unparallelled and, as you point out, you're not slapping down half-a-million for some lean-to in Toronto. I'm seriously thinking about a move north.

Anonymous said...

Just don't get sick, because the nearest hospital (Thunder Bay) is woefully short of beds, so you'll be flown to Manitoba.