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Be a Tourist

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My family and I just spent 4 days visiting a friend who has a house/ cottage in Tobermory.  I always love to visit that part of the province, and I especially love being a tourist in the summer.    I love to see how other communities operate, what they offer and what their specialties are that attract people there.    One thing I found fascinating about Tobermory is how multi-cultural the tourist industry is there.  We were hiking at a spot called Little Cove and there were many families swimming and I heard 5 or 6 different languages being spoken.  In town I saw several bus loads of people from China unloading to explore.  When I asked my friend's mother (who has lived there full time for over  20 years) she said it was due to several factors.   She herself went to Holland (she's from there) to do trade shows with the Bruce Peninsula Chamber of Commerce  to encourage people from Holland to visit.  The National Park does it's own advertising which draws many people in.  She also mentioned that a movie company from China featured Tobermory in a movie and so that was building the tourism industry from that part of the world.   One morning we rode our bikes into Tobermory to go out for breakfast and then to go shopping.  I was so impressed by the people who worked in the grocery store and all the tourist shops and how they worked really hard to communicate with people who spoke little or no English.  It is a whole new level of customer service and way of being when you have to take the time to use made up sign language, consult dictionaries etc.  I found myself wondering what it would be like if someone came to my yoga class who didn't speak English and how I would handle it.  I hope I would do as good a job as what I seemed to be observing.   Another thing I found interesting, and lovely was when we went to visit my friend's mom (Louise) who was staying in the hospital in Lion's Head (half an hour south of Tobermory).   Louise is 87 and still runs a B&B in Tobermory, but had fallen 2 weeks prior to our visit and had broken 3 bones in her ankle.  She had her surgery in Owen Sound, and has been staying at the Lion's Head Hospital waiting for a  placement in a convalescent home to do her  next steps of physiotherapy etc.  The Lion's Head Hospital has 5 beds and so is very small and it was wonderful to watch her get such expert care in such a small facility.     At one point we took her outside to sit under a tree and I left to take her dog for a walk.  I came back and she was surrounded by 2 doctors, a nurse, 6 or 7 friends  who had stopped by to visit and everyone was laughing and I observed the power of caring people in the healing process.   It made me think about our own medical facilities and how lucky we are in this community to have all the doctors and medical support people that we have and how our hospital is small and powerful.    I think it is a good practice for all us that live in a tourist community to visit other destinations and observe and learn and also remember what it feels like to be treated well.  We had a great weekend in Tobermory  and look forward  to going back there again.

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