• Cole Currie

A Stroll Down High Street in Southampton

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Just taking a camera and heading out your door with no real plan can sometimes lead to great results, even if they're a little simple. Like a stroll down the street.

Southampton is a very small town. Coming from Toronto, I'm used to the frenetic energy of the big city, the fast pace and the noise of the downtown core. Nothing could be further from that reality than High Street. Lined with restaurants and boutique shops, High Street is a small strip of everything that makes Saugeen Shores lovely.

A walk up High Street begins down by the shores of Lake Huron looking out at Chantry Island. In the winter the wind is sometimes biting, but almost everybody I've met here so far has told me it's great in the summer. Here's hoping they're telling the truth.

Like most places in Canada, Southampton has a rich history of which they're quite proud. This memorial to fallen soldiers in World War I and World War II is prominently featured on High Street, towering above most everything else in the vicinity. I find memorials like this are just as much a reminder of how close a community is as they are a way to remember those who died to keep it safe.

Mark my words because I'm putting them out here on the internet where they'll live forever: I will live in a house like this one day. This is the Bowman House. The Bowman family owned the town's tannery until it burned down in 1900. Just another one of those beautiful historical notes that makes this place so special.*

Walker House is the first restaurant I tried in Southampton when I came up to look at the new house and I loved it. I had the french onion soup and I always say you can tell a lot about a place by the quality of their french onion soup (if they even serve it). Needless to say, Walker House is high-quality. Now that restrictions are lifting in our area I'm planning on going in as soon as possible.

I like convenience store aesthetics. Is that weird? There's something charming about them, it's difficult to describe. I think I like that it knows what it is and that it isn't anything else. It's just a convenience store.

When I first got here, everybody recommended Outlaw. It's a bit of a standout at the intersection of High Street and Albert Street. This microbrewery is everything I expected out of a small town in Ontario (all the best craft beers come from small town Ontario).

How cute is Armens Cafe? I'm told it's usually open only for the warmer months when Southampton is bustling with activity as cottagers and beachgoers head to the town. Counting down the days to March 4 so I can try what everybody's been raving about.

The traditional Town Hall building is kind of the most iconographic part of High Street when it comes to recognizing Southampton (it's featured on the Wikipedia page). It now houses the Southampton Arts Centre Art School & Gallery, but remains a definitive landmark.

I'm guilty of going to Tim Horton's every morning and getting an extra large double double, which is a shame when there are cozy little coffee shops just down the street. I'm planning on going in to Dizzy Bird more often and asking for something a little better than a Tim's coffee. And I hear it's one of the only places to get bagels from the Southampton Bagel Co. so I'm really gonna have to go soon.

One of the things about moving to Saugeen Shores in the middle of winter and in the midst of a global pandemic is that I haven't been able to take the opportunity to visit shops and explore around. That's part of what this blog is about, to motivate me to find out more about my new town.

I'll admit it's been a little scary moving to a new place where I hardly know anybody, but so far everybody I've met has been kind and everything I've seen has me excited to keep learning and exploring. Just a little walk up and down a street can teach you so much and I think that's part of the beauty of a place like Saugeen Shores.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL3

*I should note, an earlier version of this post stated that this house was "The Doctor's House" however I was kindly corrected by a knowledgeable neighbour who encouraged me to make my next stroll a walk through the town's history. I think I'll take her advice on that!

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