Aboot Vankleek Hill

about vankleek hill collage


Vankleek Hill is a village of roughly 1800 eccentric and interesting people, roughly one hour’s drive from Montreal, Cornwall and Ottawa… so that pretty much makes us the centre of the largest concentration of Canadians anywhere in the world, which is perfect because we throw a lot of annual festivals, so they all have something to do.

The first business in Vankleek Hill was an Inn run by Cecilia Jaycox, the wife of Simeon VanKleeck himself, and to this day Vankleek Hill is mostly about liquor, food and beds.

Cecilia and Simeon were Dutch ‘United Empire Loyalists’ who sided with the British during the American Revolutionary War in 1776… which didn’t turn out that great for the British, so Simeon left New York with his wife and son, and moved north. By 1797 Simeon, Cecilia and Simeon jr. had started a homestead on the land which inevitably became Vankleek Hill.

Cecilia’s Inn served people travelling up and down the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, or by land between Montreal and Ottawa. As a result Vankleek Hill has always been a crossroads village, and quickly became the agricultural and trades centre for the region.

The Vankleek Hill region has been my home for almost half of my life — I spent the other half living in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Guelph and Stratford. My first job as a reporter was in Vankleek Hill with the local weekly broadsheet, The Review.

Not too long ago a friend left his car on a side street here while he went camping for two nights… he forgot to lock the doors and left the drivers-side window down. When he got back his car was still in the same spot, all of his CDs were still there, but it had rained so someone had rolled his window up. Welcome to Vankleek Hill.

about vankleek hill collage

18 Responses to Aboot Vankleek Hill

  1. aikaterine says:

    This might not be the best page, but I really want to get an answer from someone who grew up in ‘hockey’ country. Why is it so popular? All of my girlfriends’ husbands are starting to like it. And they, largely, live in countries where hockey is a fairly new mainstream sport. I have been taken to more than a few games, but just don’t get it. Am I missing something?

  2. feartheseeds says:

    Did you watch the YouTubes? I’m not sure I can explain hockey any better than you watching Darren McCarty beating the shit out of Claude Lemieux.

    Is there a summer league in Texas, or are you preparing for the upcoming NHL season (training camp opens in ten weeks)? If you go to a game you’ll be converted (don’t sit in the lower bowl unless you have a private box, upper second or lower third rim is best). When the period ends, wait a few minutes before hitting the concession stand or the washroom. Always get to the arena an hour before the game so you can watch the warm-ups and get a feel for the arena.

    I’m not sure which sports you like, but hockey is faster than anything you’ve seen before (unless you, like me, also like NASCAR), and there’s an amazing amount of skill involved. I’m guessing you’d be going to see the Dallas Stars, they’re almost an elite team… maybe top ten anyway. The Western Conference has the best teams in the League right now. If you have a choice you’ll want to see the Calgary Flames, the Colorado Avalanche, the Vancouver Canucks, the San Jose Sharks and the Stanley Cup Champions, Anaheim Ducks.

    The rules are, kind of, similar to soccer and football. Holding, offside, tripping, roughing… unlike most other sports, however, fighting does not result in an automatic expulsion. A real fight will result in each player getting a five minute penalty. A second fight, or a fight in the last few minutes, will get a player kicked out.

    Most penalties will be 2minutes and are served by the player while the team is short a player for the duration. If a player is truly vicious they’ll get 5min + 10min + a game misconduct and a hearing for possible suspension. But that’s a flagrant attempt to injure, they don’t happen often.

    These guys are some of the best trained athletes in the world, they can move 20mph, they can shoot the puck up to 100+mph, and they collide with each other and the boards at full speed… and, unlike basketball (another Canadian invention), hockey is a REAL contact sport.

    Believe me, after your first game there’ll be no “have to” aboot going to see the next one.

  3. aikaterine says:

    o.k., I did my due diligence and watched the you- tubes. By the way, there are a few that are no longer valid. I’ll email them to you so we save space here.

    I am preparing for the upcoming season, we have season tickets to the Aeros (which is an IHL leauge – did I say that right?) And I will see half of the Stars home games (sharing season tickets).

    As far as sports that I normally like, only boxing. But I don’t even think that should count, because all a really like is watching well-toned half naked men jump around and get sweaty. I don’t like it when they actually hit each other. Which is sort of the point. So I guess I don’t like any sport.

    Now, I have been to more than a few hockey games. Many stars games (I dated one of their marketing heads once). I had season tickets to the San Jose Sharks when I lived in San Francisco (my clients loved them). And I have seen more Aeros games than I care to remember. And most of the time I sit right behind, but to the right or left of the area where the players sit. I am going to assume that this is not called a ‘dugout’. So I am on the glass. I would not waste your time if this was a sport that I knew there was no way in hell I could like it (nascar). But I have always felt that the hockey players are uber-talented, more than any other sport. So, I think there is the potential for me to like hockey; because I actually think that the game requires skill and intelligence. But I am just missing something. Maybe I am not in the right area. Maybe the guys wear too many clothes. Maybe I just don’t know enough about it to appreciate just how difficult it is.

    Do you think the fans in Canada are different than the US fans? I am wondering if it might be more of a ‘fan experience’ in Canada.

  4. Nita says:

    Hey, I tagged you for an intellectual blogger award. I guess I should have come here and told you myself. Well, you know why I tagged you. I think you have one of the best blogs going (I made a mistake about saying three blogs, I realise now because I have just this one on my surfer) but that doesn’t matter. This blog is the best. I like the your take on the stories you pick…
    Also I like the way you have laid out your blog. That is very important. I am quite deficient in the technical department although I am learning.
    Is is possible for you to put that intellectual blogger image on your blog? I have no idea how to ofcourse.
    This is an award from India btw. :)

  5. aikaterine says:

    yay! I am doing the happy dance. Oh yes, yes I am. Crap, I just dropped a diamond…

  6. gabrielae says:

    Hi Gabriel. Like the name. Your blog is cool and Canada rocks. Thanks for your Paul Anka contributions on my blog…

  7. Come back, seeds guy. It’s so dull without you.

  8. gingatao! says:

    Canada, just like Australia, but cold.

    • Zach says:

      Umm i live in vankleek hill and its only cold in the winter like everywhere else. Its also blazing hot in the summer lol and very humid

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  13. Nita says:

    Gabriel, I tagged you for a meme but the pingback didn’t appear here. Anyway do the meme only if it inspires you too! Just fun.

  14. Qween Minx says:

    Gel, I am having a 40th doo … want you to come. It’s on my birthday … in Autumn (do Canadians call it Fall? And, why do Americans call it Fall (?) … just coz the trees drop their leaves? – yes, it derives from an Olde English word, but why do English people call it Autumn? … because of the French, that’s why, funny that eh?)

    I don’t know many French people … I suppose it’s because after they invaded England (or should I say tried?) they realised they weren’t too keen on us, so they buggered off back to France – and, I’ve only been to France once; I liked it … they all spoke French, but it’s kind of expected (it is fucking France after all) but, counting on one hand … I know, personally, one French person – I don’t know how many is considered a cool amount, yanno (love that word, nicked it from LadyDee) an impressive amount like ‘yeah, I know fifteen fucking French people, and four of ’em are just kids … do French dogs count? coz, one of the kids has a dog.’

    Maybe, I just don’t know enough French people, but then I wonder, why do I have to? So, to all the French people I don’t know, hi.

    Fuck I can waffle can’t I? yes. i know.

    Anyway Gabe, I’m celebrating my 40th with a party. I would love you to come. It’s plus one, so bring someone with you. I’m gonna post the proper details on FB .. do like an event .. woo, say you love FB coz I know you do really.

    big kisses matey … see you in the Fall. ;)


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