David Ward finds himself quite a physical distance and lifestyle difference away from his former life in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario as he makes his home in one of the smallest isolated outport communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, McCallum.
Ward was teaching ecology at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario and was fairly close to retirement when fate, or a lady he was seeing at the time, intervened and changed his lifestyle around completely.
It just so happened that his lady friend’s grandparents had lived in McCallum and on a trip to the province in 2007 the duo fell in love with the community. They bought a house there and spent the next three summers in Newfoundland.
Today, Ward and Carol, his lady friend with the ties to McCallum, have parted ways, but Ward is still in McCallum and is enjoying the slower paced lifestyle the community offers.
Ward said, “We had spent three summers here but I wanted more. Our relationship had ended by this time, so in 2009 I left my career and came here to live year round.”
Ward said that he has been very well received, and has been made to feel really welcome, by the residents of McCallum.
“Carol has lots of relatives here and they, and the whole community really, have embraced me and have taken me in.
Carol’s family, and the friends I’ve made, give me boat rides, they feed me with lobster, halibut, cod, scallops, bake apples, bear, moose, homemade bread and a wide variety of other foods.
“What I’ve done in return is that I validate what they do, and I’m able to show them that what they do is extraordinary – that it’s wonderful and amazing.
“When your type work and lifestyle is all you’ve ever done, and what the people around you has always done is basically the same,
you might lose sight of the significance of that work and activity.
“I have so much respect for these people and for what they do. Through my writing and what I tell them, they get the opportunity to look at themselves through different eyes and, in doing that, I hope they realize how amazing their lifestyle is.”
Ward said that although he sometimes misses the urban lifestyle of Ontario, he is quite content to be living in outport Newfoundland.
“I miss going out to a nice restaurant or attending a university lecture every now and then but, overall, I don’t really value the urban lifestyle a great amount. I get to eat some pretty nice meals in some nice homes with some really nice people here.
“ Life in a city is where someone always has a hand in your pocket and those cultural things are great but they come at a high price.
“I like the adventure here, I like this life, the fact that it’s so different. I miss these hills and this body of water whenever I go back to the city.
“The simple fact is, a city does have some things a rural environment doesn’t but, again, there’s a price to be paid and I’m no longer willing to pay that price.
“This environment around here is as beautiful as any on earth. Facheaux Bay, for example, is equivalent to Gros Morne in my opinion and a boat ride in the Gaultois Passage is amazing.”
Ward has bought two houses in McCallum and spends his days on renovation projects and earning a living.
“The biggest misconception about me in the Coast of Bays is that
I’m retired. I’m not even close to retirement. I write a weekly column for the Coaster and I teach three online courses a year on a contract basis with the University of Guelph in Ontario”
Ward recently sold a book to a publishing company in Toronto that he wrote on his hockey hero of the 1970s, Jim Harrison. He received an advance on the sell of the book and will receive royalties on future sales.
He is working on another book now based on his experiences in the Coast of Bays.
“I’ve borrowed an idea from Farley Mowat’s book “Bay of Spirits” in which he write about his adventures in this area back in the 1960s. I’ll be using my Coaster columns and other ventures to complete the book.”
Ward said that he plans to stay in McCallum certainly for the foreseeable future.
“This is my home base and primary address now as I don’t own anything else anywhere. I have no interest in leaving except to do some travelling later on.
I miss some people back in Ontario but it’s sort of funny in that I get to see those people more now that I’m living in Newfoundland as I have more freedom here.
“I can work from anywhere that has an Internet signal and, without a big Ontario mortgage, I have more jingle in my pocket. This is my home base and I don’t think of it in any other way.”