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General News · 11th October 2012
Marianane Scott
This is a warm hello from Cambridge, Ontario to the residents of Cortes Island, B.C. You donít know me but I feel a warm affiliation for you and your wonderful Island way of life.

My name is Marianne Scott and I live in Cambridge Ontario. Iím an aspiring writer and practicing my craft in any venue that will put my words to print. I have family who live on Cortes and have visited your lovely island several times. You folks are truly blessed with the most outstanding beauty that nature has to offer. The ocean, the mountains, the trees and particularly the serene lifestyle of Cortes is what inspired me to write today. While Cambridge Ontario also has its own appeal in terms of nature trails, lakes and parks, the lifestyle we experience here is vastly different.

If you were to take a pulse rate comparing our two communities, Cambridge would be in the near heart attack zone all the time, around 100 plus BPM (the heart rate of a constant physical workout) while Cortes would be in a more normal and humane zone of 70 BPM. Itís like the difference between rowdy rock and soothing classical music. Indeed, Cambridge is one of the fastest paced places in the world to live. My husband and I have traveled a bit and the heartbeat of a place is easy to sense.

Cambridge does have its good points though. We have a very pretty nature trail along our Grand River but traffic noise is always in the background and sometimes itís very loud when the air is heavy with moisture. Our parks are well appointed with arenas, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, childrenís play equipment, and skateboard areas. We keep them impeccably groomed with beautiful flower beds and well-manicured grass. We have numerous cultural centers, theatres, excellent shopping malls, and outstanding restaurants featuring world class cuisine. The problem is that all of these amenities come with a price. We pay for it in our lifestyle quality. We have all these wonderful advantages but limited time to enjoy them. Weíre always busy working or going places. Also, it seems that we are always battling a time schedule deadline to get things done or to get somewhere on time.

Vehicle traffic is another distinguishing characteristic of our lifestyle. My husband and I own a house about one kilometer from the busiest highway in Southern Ontario (Highway # 401). There is never a time of day when the highway is without traffic. We can hear traffic noise even when we are in bed at night. We also hear airplanes overhead on their midnight delivery routes as well as rude neighbours who insist on using their loud motorcycles late at night and sometimes into the early hours of morning. To some extent we have become accustomed to the noise pollution but for me it always remains annoying.

When visiting Cortes, it takes a while to slow down. Thankfully, waiting for the ferries to get us to the Island helps this frenzied Ontarian to adjust to the slower pace. Iím sure that itís easy to spot a non-islander from Ontario just by the way we move. Itís not just our cell phones that vibrate; our physical beings literally vibrate all the time with stress and tension. Thank goodness for the spectacular scenery to keep our minds occupied and soothed as we wait. But what I find most notable is that west coasters donít appear to be in the same kind of hurry as Ontarians. Donít get me wrong. Youíre not like the Mexicanís, who are practically comatose in their response time. You get things done but at a reasonable pace. Ontarians are always hyperactive!

I love the ferry ride from Herriot Bay to Whaletown. Actually, I pray that the ferry is full and that we have to wait for the next one so we can enjoy a leisurely lunch at the restaurant there. I absolutely love the patio deck at the Heriot Bay Inn on a warm summer afternoon. After a satisfying lunch and a couple glasses of west coast wine my typical Ontario agitation is usually starting to calm. Itís a nice prelude before we board the ferry to Whaletown.

I know that BC Ferries do not ďchugĒ. In fact theyíre very modern and move at a reasonable speed. But Iím a writer so allow me to take some poetic license with my description of the ferry transport to Cortes. It takes about forty minutes to make the crossing. So Iíll say that as the ferry chugs the water of the straight, that my soul becomes completely over whelmed by the breathtaking scenery. I always expect to see marine life on the trip but so far havenít had the privilege of any sitingís. Perhaps a third glass of that excellent west coast wine available at the Heriot Bay Inn, would improve my chances of seeing marine life or at least imaginary sitingís of such. Probably not! However, my sister and brother in law, tell me that theyíve seen whale and dolphins while they sail their small craft around the straights. Iím truly jealous of this honour. In Cambridge we feel lucky if we spot a carp in the Grand River. Let me tell you; itís not nearly the same experience! Theyíre so fortunate. I always tell them that they live in paradise and they do. You all do!

I also envy the spectacular landscape on Cortes Island. I love the tidal estuaries at Mansonís Landing. Weíve spent hours wading through the pools at low tide and discovering starfish, crab, sand dollars, and all types of clams. I love the hiking opportunities of the Kwas and Carrington trails with its old growth trees and ocean vistas. The ocean views from Smelt Bay are truly spectacular as are the beach fronts that offer hours of enjoyable beach combing. I love bald eagles, starfish, harbour seals and free roaming deer. Being that close to nature is always a privilege and truly inspiring.

So, to my Cortes friends I say, please remain forever grateful for the wonderful things that Island life has to offer. I canít wait to visit Cortes again. This time I hope to make it the focus of a fictional novel that I have in the early stages of development. Thereís so much inspirational beauty to put into words in your paradise home and such opportunity for adventure! Perhaps my future writings might bring some fictional intrigue into your unique and tranquil life. I canít imagine a better setting for a story.

Written by Marianne Scott, 2012