“It’s Almont not Almontay,” announced Baker Bob, owner of the Baker Bob’s, Town of Almonte.
“I know this, yet I say it again and again,” this writer replied, huffing and puffing, soaked and seeking respite from the excruciating heat. “It must be the French in me,” I gasped.
“Actually ‘Almont-ay’, is more hispanic sounding,” Bob added.
“Well they both have Latin origins,” I squeaked in my weakened state. On this point, Bob and I settled and agreed. I redeemed myself by guessing Bob’s height at 6 feet 2.5 inches; but, it’s not wise to joust with a man who towers over you. Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum! Mercifully, this one is gentle and allowed me to return to the living with a cold beverage and quiet time in his soda-shoppe slash bakery slash cafe.
This exchange is held among visitors and locals often. It is part of its lore. You will not be cursed if you pronounce its name wrong; but, you will be gently corrected. It’s personal to Almontonians–they reference themselves this way too. Have a little fun, kick against the goads, and pronounce, ‘Almontay’, in their midst. The prankster in me can hardly resist.
The natural beauty of this small town, hill and waters, is amplified by the worldly quality of its shops and cafes. It is truly surprising that visitors drive through miles of farm country to arrive at such an unexpected oasis, an international destination. I was gobsmacked on my first trip.
The town’s history is in every brick and stone; but, it is eclectic, each merchant participating zealously in its expression. Once inside the shops, visitors discover products that surprise the eyes; skilled procurement is clearly the key to their success.
As you trudge up the road you will trip into a tin shop, the Tin Barn Market, an unusual theme that enjoys healthy traffic. Fifties tin is a collector favorite; but, this shop extends the theme to chalk paint and lemongrass-scented soy candles in retro tins alongside fifties and rural fare.
You will be drawn through the wall opening into Bob’s Bakery, chock-full of candy, baked goods, coffees and confections which take boomers back in time.
The Wedge is far from finished with this lovely. We’ll be back.