Two days after our house sit in The Beaches, a lovely area in Toronto, we headed for a house-sitting opportunity in Collingwood. A cold, dreary, drizzly day greeted us as we started the two-hour drive for our 10-day sit.
Collingwood is a town in Simco County, Ontario, Canada. It is on Nottawasaga Bay, at the southern point of Georgian Bay. The population is 22,000 (2016).
Collingwood was incorporated as a town in 1858, nine years before Confederation and is named after Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood who was Lord Nelson’s second in command at the Battle of Trafalgar. He assumed command of the British fleet after Lord Nelson’s death.
The Town was known previously as Hurontario Mills and as Hens and Chickens Harbour (after the one large and four small islands in the bay).
Collingwood is close to the beaches of Wasaga, and has lots of biking and hiking trails and several restaurants to choose from.
It is also known for its largest in the world annual weekend Elvis Presley Festival which attracts Elvis impersonators from all over the world. This occurs in July of each year. This year it is scheduled for July 26-28.
Apparently, the future after this year’s event, which marks its 25th anniversary, is uncertain. The town council wishes to discontinue funding the annual event and states a decline in attendance and economic impact as its reasons.
So, if you are an Elvis fan, mark the date and plan to attend as this could very well be your last opportunity.
Our House Sitting Host
Upon our arrival in Collingwood, Delaire, who is in the travel industry, graciously invited us into her beautiful and spacious home which is in a peaceful area on half an acre. There is also a nice large deck but unfortunately, the weather isn’t comfortable enough to sit out.
After welcoming us, Delaire was busy, which we understood – she was heading to Scotland (lucky her) and still had some last-minute packing to do.
Our Reason For Being There
We made ourselves comfortable and watched the cats (I should say cat as only one was visible) as they decided if they wanted to meet these two strangers who they didn’t invite.
Blue, the more approachable of the two, comes close to us, pauses for a second, and then disappears. She is a beautiful, black, small and dainty adult cat. She loves to be petted but does not want to be picked up. However, she snuggles in close to my husband or me. She also loves to eat and is quite happy to have her meals from either her dish or Piper’s – it really makes no difference to her, as long as she can eat!
While both cats are sweet and friendly, Piper stole my heart. I think it is because she is a challenge as Delaire tells us she will make contact when she is good and ready – we didn’t even see much of her on our first night there – just a glimpse of her running by occasionally.
She is a beautiful, younger, larger cat; her colouring is a mixture of black, white and orange.
She decided to trust us after a couple of days, and at first, would weave her way in and out of my legs while I was getting her food.
Eventually, she would climb up beside us and let us pet her. She does not care to be picked up either but loves tummy rubs and is quite content to get some loving.
Pussy Willow Tree
On our first day there, we took a few minutes to walk down to the water where we came across this lovely Pussy Willow tree. I took a picture of it as it was just starting to bud. On our last day there, we took a few minutes to go check it out and it was in full bloom. I have only seen two or three Pussy Willow trees and I think they are cool!
This was a comfortable house sit. We love the location, the house is cozy and Piper and Blue are extremely easy to look after.
I admit I used to listen to Elvis in my younger days and if this is the last opportunity to see the excellent impersonators, I am seriously thinking of getting tickets – the hard part will be convincing my husband we should do this.
Our house sit in Collingwood is at an end and we are heading off to Ottawa for one night and then a 4-day house sit in Quebec!
Delaire gave me a goodbye hug and we let her know if she needed us again, to give us a shout.
House sitting presents many challenges, some good, some bad, but mostly it is a great experience. For us, it is not just about looking after the pets and/or homes but it also gives us an opportunity to check out the area and the culture.
If you are interested at all in checking it out, contact Trusted House Sitters as they always have a great selection of stays to choose from.
If you have any thoughts on our experiences or would like to share some of your own, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below.