It was a Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., and there was only one table available at Castings Public House. Our server explained to us that something is happening at Town Hall, so they are completely booked for the night. A smile grew on my face because I was already convinced that Wingham, Ontario was just a set from a Hollywood movie, this just proved it.
The event at Town Hall was a concert. The Great Canadian Roadtrip, featuring Jason McCoy, Michelle Wright, and Doc Walker was in town. That was also the same reason we were in Wingham.
Living my entire life in the 416 & 905, I had never heard of Wingham. Job Skills has teamed up with Jason McCoy to promote our upcoming program Building a Life, a program that supports women wanting to start a career in the skilled trades. My colleague Chelsea and I were dispatched to collect footage from the concert that night and meet our generous sponsors from R.J. Burnside & Associates. We decided that collecting some B Roll (beauty role) from around Wigham would be a nice touch to the video.
I love collecting B Roll because it gives me a chance to explore. As Chelsea and I began scouting out Wingham, it occurred to me that Wingham was a hidden gem tucked away in Western Ontario. From the moment we checked into our rooms at the Wingham Motel, to the moment I was served my coffee at the local Tim Hortons before driving home the next morning, the people of Wingham made us feel like locals who had lived in the town forever, even though we spent less than 24-hours in the quaint little town.
While walking up Josephine St, surrounded by locally owned businesses, Chelsea and I took in the rich, historic architecture. It felt like Wingham hadn’t updated their buildings in 50 years, but that’s what made it so charming. As we walked with cameras in hand, we could not have looked any more like tourists than we did. Yet, we were continually greeted by Wingham locals as if we had known them for years.
From the Wingham Town Hall Theatre to the North Huron Museum, which used to be the Post Office, the old buildings were kept immaculately clean, and you just couldn’t help but feel the positive vibes. We read the memorial for fallen soldiers. We studied the monument and tribute to Alice Munro. Born in Wingham in 1931, Munro was a short story writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.
While we ate our dinner, we took in the atmosphere at Castings. The pub-style eatery, complete with tacky yet tasteful bar signs, and a chalkboard with the daily specials, was buzzing. Some fashioned with cowboy hats and flashy cowboy boots, patrons enjoyed their pre-show meals and drinks, before heading over to Wingham Town Hall Theatre for the sold-out concert.
The theatre was the perfect venue for the intimate show. Jason McCoy, Michelle Wright, and Doc Walker told stories and played hit-after-hit to a crowd who soaked in the wholesome atmosphere.
After the show, Chelsea and I had to collect some more footage and speak with Jason, so, by the time we left, Josephine St was empty. We had to walk about a block to our car. Carrying four bags full of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, there was never a time that we felt nervous or in danger. That’s the type of town Wingham is. It’s the same type of town I see in movies that I never thought existed. Yet, there’s Wingham, Ontario, just a two-hour drive through farmland and foliage from Newmarket. I did get caught behind two slow-moving tractors on my way home, but I can hardly blame Wingham for that.
Wingham, Ontario may not be on your bucket list of must-visit destinations, but I would encourage you to reconsider. If you’re looking for a quick getaway, you can immerse yourself in the small-town vibes and history that Wingham has to offer.
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For 35 plus years, Job Skills has been delivering solutions to job seekers and moving people into sustainable, meaningful employment. Throughout their long history, Job Skills has recognized that not every job seeker is the same. There is no one size fits all employment program. That’s why the Job Skills vision is building an inclusive society where all people are ensured equitable opportunities to fulfill their career aspirations and participate fully in the community.
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