The celebrity chef and Masterchef Canada judge rem­i­nisces about es­cap­ing to ru­ral liv­ing in Cale­don, Ont.

Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - —As told to Aaron Kylie

Celebrity chef Michael Bonacini rem­i­nisces about es­cap­ing to ru­ral liv­ing in Cale­don, Ont.

I have a coun­try home in the bu­colic hills of Cale­don, Ont., about 60 kilo­me­tres north­west of Toronto. I re­ally con­nect with the beauty here and what it has to of­fer, like the quirky and won­der­ful peo­ple I’ve made friends with. It re­ally is a great part of the world. I love com­ing up, as do my wife and son. Go­ing there is re­ally about get­ting back into the coun­try­side, where things move at a slightly slower pace and the air seems fresher, the trees greener, the wildlife more plen­ti­ful. I’ve never been the kind of guy to sit for too long on the back deck with a beer or a book. I al­ways have a job go­ing. And here it’s the kind of jobs I can’t do in the city. Cut­ting the grass, plant­ing trees, build­ing a stone wall, tidy­ing up the barn. Just th­ese out­door jobs that I love to do. Splitting fire­wood, stack­ing fire­wood and mak­ing a fire when it starts to get chilly … there is noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing and grat­i­fy­ing. They’re all sort of rit­u­als that I don’t find chores. I ac­tu­ally look for­ward to them. I also have won­der­ful neigh­bours. A neigh­bour farmer friend taught me how to plow. I have a lo­cal bee­keeper who comes to see me. I hike with a group of guys weekly. I feel very much a part of this com­mu­nity and I feel wel­come here. The group of friends we hang out with in Cale­don have a favourite lit­tle cidery down the road and a cof­fee shop in the vil­lage, a bak­ery we stop at when we’re on our cy­cling tours, a friendly neigh­bour­hood pub. It’s unique lit­tle des­ti­na­tions like th­ese that make it ex­tra spe­cial. I never tire of com­ing here.

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