Woodstock, Ontario

I live in a small city in southwestern Ontario called Woodstock, the same place that I’ve lived for over six years. I went to high school here. This is where I first got to go out and explore by myself, and now I’m comfortable in my general knowledge of where everything is in the city.

One thing I’ve never done, though, is to write about this place.

It doesn’t feel like there’s all that much to write about. I’m not aware of any tourist attractions – unless you’re into factories, in which case there’s plenty to see – but there is still a city here, and it’s definitely not terrible.

My favourite part of this city is the wooded park surrounding the water reservoir at the north end among a jumble of residential side streets and apartment buildings. The woods are mostly manmade but relatively untended, so Mother Nature was able to reclaim some natural beauty. There’s a small dock that extends over the water during the warmer months; it’s a lovely place to sit and think or write. I always try to visit on the colder days that threaten of rain for two reasons – one, that’s my favourite weather, and two, it means I’ll have to deal with far fewer people.

Other than that park, there’s not a lot to see in Woodstock. There are a handful of shops downtown, but nothing particularly interesting. At the south end of the city there’s the so-called “shopping district” with all the big fast food restaurants and Walmart and such, but again, there’s nothing particularly interesting. There’s no mall here – I heard there used to be one but it shut down ages ago. There are some decent coffee shops, but none that feel comfortable enough that you want to sit there and relax for long.

I even checked the city’s official website for points of interest, but their list was even more pathetic than mine: a grave site, the farmers’ market, a statue of a cow, the OLG slots, and an anglican church. That’s their entire list, and none of those things are interesting enough to even want to read a paragraph about.

The upside to it being a crappy destination is that it’s safer than a lot of cities. Some of the areas near downtown are kind of seedy, with drug deals and general lowlifes hanging about, but that’s usually the extent of the danger. Sure, there’s the odd case of something bigger happening, but those happen anywhere you go.

So it’s not fancy, it’s not flashy, it’s not quirky, but it’s decent. It’s the kind of place you get bored of really quickly, at least if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy most social activities like I am. Maybe my assessment of this city is entirely inaccurate for other people here, but it’s been my experience.

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