Great to be home
Sunset on Sturgeon Lake. (Photo by Alexis Benns.)

Great to be home in Kawartha Lakes

in Columnists/Community by

In the late 1970s or early 80s, you may have spotted a young boy with red hair and freckles fishing or catching crayfish near Lock 33 in Lindsay. That’s certainly a Norman Rockwell image of my childhood, I have to admit. (And my friend Mike Perry has called Lindsay “the Norman Rockwell town of the North.”)

There was road hockey in the winter near Queen Victoria Public School, summer walks by the river in Rivera Park, and the hourly chimes of St. Andrew’s Church from that 85-foot bell tower — sometimes reminding me that I needed to get home for dinner.

Publisher Roderick Benns.

Somewhat reluctantly, I left Kawartha Lakes for school, returning for two years to accept a job as a reporter with (then) Lindsay This Week until 1997. Life happens — and it sometimes pulls us away. Families are started. Careers take us in various directions. In my case, magazine editor, correspondent, nearly a decade with the Ministry of Education’s Student Achievement Division as senior writer, writing a few books, and generally making my way as a media entrepreneur.

Since launching The Lindsay Advocate last September online, from our home in Waterloo Region, it soon became obvious that the community was embracing our focus on community and our intent to build on the social and economic wellness of Kawartha Lakes. The vision took root swiftly and by March of this year we were able to launch our print magazine, in addition to our online platforms, and we immediately made plans to return.

Having family in the area has helped. My wife and daughter got to know Kawartha Lakes from our many visits here over the years and they easily saw the beauty and opportunities it offered. This includes a fantastic education system for our daughter, with full-day French Immersion, and the International Baccalaureate program at I.E. Weldon S.S.

So — about 21 years later — I’ve finally found my way back to Kawartha Lakes, where all those early memories that are indelibly linked to place come to the forefront of my mind. Now, with family in tow, it’s even better of course and we have created a true family business based on our collective ideas and love for the area. We hope to bring our focus on news, community, and wellness for many years to come.

It’s still early days, but I have to say it’s great to be back. Perhaps more accurately, it’s great to be home.

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Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also Vice Chair of the Ontario Basic Income Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.

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