Faces of the Valley:
Don and Dorris of "Littlecreek Wolf Range"
By Stephanie Park
Perched in a beautiful mustard coloured house surrounded by luscious grass and a forest of cedar and sugar maple trees, Don describes this home as paradise.
Novelist Dorris and retired Chief Actuary Don speak highly of their property on Grey Road 119 that they built after falling in love with Beaver Valley a few years ago. When describing his contentment with their property, Don explains that "if you are lucky, you get what you ask for. If you are really lucky you get one hundred and five percent or one hundred and ten percent. This is one hundred and ten percent."
Their property is named "Littlecreek Wolf Range," which is most appropriate as I was greeted by two stunning malamutes as I entered their breathtaking home. When asked what key factors influenced their move to this area, Dorris answered without hesitation that "one big factor in getting a rural property was our dogs." Dorris also expressed the importance of experiencing all four seasons. The couple has no desire to travel south, as they thoroughly enjoy the summer and winter in the Beaver Valley area. Another crucial factor in their move was the proximity to Toronto. With children and grandchildren just two hours away, Don and Dorris are able to visit with their family on a regular basis and still reside in a tranquil rural setting. Their closeness to the city is also crucial for Dorris' career as a novelist and first Vice-Chair of the Writers' Union of Canada.
Although Don has been retired for many years, he still describes his retirement in this area as extremely busy and admits that they have more friends than they can keep up with. Don and Dorris are quite fond of the social aspect of residing in a rural setting as they enjoy dinner parties and outings with old and new friends.
The apparent advantage of residing in a calm rural setting, after years of a fast-paced urban atmosphere, has changed their lives in a profound way. Dorris admits that they no longer feel the need to go out in evenings and that she is content with curling up next to the fire with a good book.
An average weekend for the joyous couple is spent surrounded by friends and family, quite often at a local eatery. Dorris is enthusiastic about the variety and quality of food in the area as she exclaims that "we have high standards of good food and several of the restaurants really meet that." Among their favourite restaurants are The Mill and Bridges located in Thornbury.
Though the weekends are overflowing with great company and delightful food, the average week for the couple is more structured. Dorris describes her average summer day as beginning with a long hike accompanied by her two malamutes and ending with a match on the tennis court they built next to their home. The breathtaking landscape found throughout this area has encouraged Dorris to embrace hiking and to become a member of The Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Don, the groundskeeper of "Littlecreek Wolf Range," fills his summer days with yard work and has created a beautifully groomed property. In the winter months, Dorris begins her day skiing and then retires to her study that overlooks a breathtaking view of the area.
When the couple is not enjoying the outdoors or entertaining guests, they enjoy being part of the Collingwood Cinema Club. Don is an active member of the church in Clarksburg that they attend every Sunday. Don and Dorris both speak highly of the magnitude of social events and activities in the community and have met a great deal of friends throughout their residency here. Unlike developing friendships solely in the workplace, Dorris explains that she "enjoys conversations with people of great variety of interesting backgrounds."
It is no wonder that this couple have fallen in love in an area with a picturesque view, tranquil trails and friendly neighbours. When asked about the impact that their residency here has had on their lives, Dorris states that "neither of us have ever lived in such a beautiful home that we love so much."