One interesting thing about being new to southwestern Ontario is that we have very few (if any) ideas about what to expect. With Mark from northern England by way of Luxembourg and Cassie from central Florida, we moved to Canada with no idea of what we would find except that it would be cold. Even then – and after six years in Toronto – we weren’t prepared for rural Ontario.
We love when this works in our favour, when the finger finds a place on a map and leads us there. No real plan. No preconceived notions to prove or disprove. Every time we get in the car we seem to find an adventure, and the latest recipient of this wanderlust was the tiny town of Waterford.
We have been to Waterford on a couple occasions – mostly for our epic antique hunt to furnish our home, as Waterford hosts a couple of interesting antique malls. Cassie’s mom tagged along on one such remarkably windy day that blew us along a canal-like stretch of water from Waterford Ponds and up to the main street to the door of the pink-ladened bakery, Ritzy Cakes and Eatery, which Moo loved for its hot chocolate and colouring books. Recently we were drawn back to Waterford because of this strange phenomenon, the rise of vinyl.
Apparently vinyl record sales rose 30% in 2015! While that may seem surprising, it makes a lot of sense to us: most of pop culture these days appears online and then disappears just as quickly, and we suspect a lot of other thirty- or forty-somethings feel a great nostalgia for relics of our childhood that you can hold in your hand. And it’s strange – a novelty really – for that history to have a storefront.
Well we found that shop, and it’s called Hobo Music. The boutique collectibles store sells, clothes, instruments, jewelry, books, comic books, vinyl, cds, cassette tapes and more – all curated. They even had a VHS boxset of the original Star Wars trilogy. Hobo began in Port Dover and only moved to Waterford in the last couple of years. Its founder, the musician Fred Eaglesmith (who we unfortunately didn’t get to meet this trip as he’s currently on tour), likes the relative quiet of Waterford so we feel slightly bad about telling you to go there. But do go there. Shhhh.
“Waterford’s great. There’s no hipsters here,” says Fred Eaglesmith, founder of Hobo Music.
The shop began with just a small collection of vinyl and a few guitars, and their inventory has expanded over the years, but our favourite part was definitely the vinyl. Second favourite was probably the Super Nintendo games (a generous nod to geek culture).
But vinyl feels truly special, an artform its fans have kept alive for decades despite the crushing pace of technology. Mark recalls listening to an old Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band record on his dad’s turntable; Cassie remembers singing Puff the Magic Dragon to her mom’s records. Thanks Hobo Music, for bringing back those lovely memories.