November 24, 2020

By: Emilie Lapointe

Dear Oakville,

I want to extend a sincere thank you for welcoming me into your charming shops, eateries, parks and small businesses. This opportunity came at a challenging time, both personally and collectively, and re-instilled some faith in being able to lead a somewhat normal life through this unique situation.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s the simple joys that can make a day brighter and special. Like the way the sunsets over Tannery Park with the lighthouse in the distance, how the birds flit around Lions Valley Park or the joy of piling your car high with pillows and blankets and watching movies with a loved one at the 5-Drive In. Even a simple walk or hike can be made special in Oakville just by looking around and taking in what surrounds us.

My last few months working as a tourism ambassador in Oakville and sharing my experiences with you all has been amazing. I’ve been able to do so many of the things that have been sitting on my local bucket list for quite some time. Whether it was work, school or life in general, something would always seemingly get in the way and I would just think, ‘I’ll do those things eventually.’ I encourage everyone to take a look at their own local bucket list – restaurants you’ve wanted to check out, shops to explore, outdoor activities – and start checking some off the list. Now is the perfect time to do so. In times like these, it’s important to be reminded of all the beauty and fun we can all have in our own backyards. You may even discover a new favourite spot or hobby that you can continue to enjoy.

When I first started, I had a list of my top five spots in Oakville and now after my adventures, I have a new top five. Admittedly, this was very hard to narrow down and is ever-changing because of the sheer amount of amazing things to do, see and eat in Oakville. Take a look at my top five below:

1. Gairloch Gardens

I can’t ignore that on my first visit to this garden in the summer, I was so giddy about the pockets of flowers around me that I frolicked around. You can spend hours in this garden appreciating the blooms, watching the ducks in the pond or reading under a tree in the fall. It has easily become one of my favourite outdoor spaces.

2. Florence Meats

This local butchery was on my original list and it is here to stay! On so many occasions after a full day in Oakville, I would pick myself up a bag of biltong (even my partner became obsessed!) and snack on it on the way home. There’s just something about that biltong!

3. Tannery Park

Watching the sunsets over Tannery Park really feels like some Oakville magic. You could swear you were actually seaside watching all the sails of the boats cut through the cotton candy skies melting into the water. As the Tannery Hill beacon illuminated, there really was this overwhelming feeling of hope and peace lingering through the air.

4. Kerr Street Café

Best. Pancakes. Ever. Have you ever eaten something and audibly yelled something out in food ecstasy?  That was my experience eating their Staxx in the park. Not only is that meal a contender for the most beautiful looking breakfasts I’ve ever had, but the flavours were so perfectly balanced with the lemon ricotta pancakes, blueberry compote and topped with thick mascarpone and crystallized lemon peel. It was a joy to eat that brunch.

5. La Parisienne Crêperie

This Bronte Village restaurant truly transported me to Paris. Their heated patio nestled near the harbour felt like its own little Parisienne world paired with delicious French fare and French music quietly playing in the background. For me, a crepe always feels like a special brunch item. A few days after my initial visit, I went again on a cooler day for a bowl of French onion soup and was equally overjoyed.

This list is nowhere near exhaustive because I enjoyed every single thing I did in Oakville. Thank you again for letting me show you how to explore our area. I hope you were able to discover some of these spots along with me.