An English Girl's Journey to Fenelon Falls

Submitted by Andrea Strachan

I immigrated from England to Canada as a young girl with my family in 1957. We lived in the Toronto area and in the mid-60s my parents bought a cottage in Gooderham. My journey to Fenelon Falls had begun!

We would shop in Fenelon on our way to the cottage and I got to enjoy many of the town's offerings and of course, the people. My parents eventually retired to Kinmount in the early 80s after buying a house owned by a Kinmount celebrity (he owns the Highland Cinemas!).

In 2000 my partner and I made the big decision to return to Ontario from Victoria, B.C. after living out west for just 3 years. The housing market had started to go crazy out there and every house purchase became a bidding war. We found the perfect house back east and moved to Fenelon Falls where we opened Pandy Bear's Bed & Breakfast on the Burnt River. I had been a legal assistant in downtown Toronto and out in Victoria and gave it all up to start my new career as a B&B owner, something I had wanted to do since the mid 90s. We received a warm welcome by the community, the business network here, and of course our wonderful neighbours.

We advertised the B&B as a "stay and play" accommodation. We offered the entire first floor to our guests - 3 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a bathroom, living room and dining room plus sauna with a bathroom and an enclosed sun room. People enjoyed swimming and boating, hammocks and lounge chairs, a deck with barbecue and of course a full breakfast with fresh produce from our garden, all homemade items, including jams and breads. They could rent canoes and kayaks and would arrange a boat ride along the river into town for lunch or dinner.

We arranged tours for our guests to discover Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, Kawartha Country Wines, Whetung Ojibwa Centre, Gallery on the Lake and the many hiking and biking trails that surround the area. We also had guests arrive by boat through the Trent Severn Waterway and would drive them to town to enjoy many dinners with them at the wonderful restaurants. We had a lot of return guests and met people from all over the world.

We did not do a lot of business in the wintertime, so I worked part time at Sobeys in their old location as a fish monger, sample lady, and cashier, offering more opportunities to make lasting friendships in Fenelon. Sobeys was where The Red Apple is now when we first moved to Fenelon.

In 2013 I retired and closed the doors to the B&B. It was bittersweet but the memories are lovely to look back on. In 2015 I moved to my own beautiful apartment in the seniors building on Murray Street where I am happily making more friends, and enjoy volunteering, and still bake for anyone who will let me! I have slowed down and am so happy it is in Fenelon Falls.

I hope you enjoyed this condensed version of an English girl's journey to Fenelon Falls.