Why I Live Here: HARRINGTON
With only a few dozen residents, Harrington, Ont., boasts no fancy restaurants or golf courses, and its hotel and post office have long since vanished. Still, for award-winning actress Seana McKenna, this quaint historic village is a sanctuary.
BY: LISA BENDALL
McKenna has appeared in well over 100 stage productions, in addition to TV, radio and film work. This May, she stars in The Matchmaker at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and, in August, she’ll take the stage again in Elektra. The 55-year-old has lived in Harrington since 1986 with her husband, director Miles Potter, and their teenage son.
Welcome to beautiful “down-town” Harrington
When Miles and I started looking at homes, this one came up 20 minutes outside of Stratford. We walked in and had such a good feeling in the house. I thought, yeah, I could live here. We’re in “downtown” Harrington, in a small 1880s village house. We only thought we’d be here for a few years, but the lure of this little village has stayed with us.
A place out of time …
Harrington is rural without the isolation. We have neighbours, and there’s the Harrington Community Club … but it’s pretty live-and-let-live. It’s a place out of time. Harrington Pond is beautiful. People tend to live here for a long time. There are a few people who have weekend homes here now. They come here for a little hit of rural.
… and an oasis for the unemployed
Being freelance theatre people, we travel wherever the work is. When you live in a city, there is a certain pressure to stay in town to work. We didn’t want to feel compelled to have to work in town. When I leave Stratford to come home, the day leaves me as well. You are unemployed as an actor often, and it’s a lovely place to be when you’re not working. It’s serene, beautiful and quiet. We’ve become huge gardeners.
Thank goodness for potluck dinners
There are no restaurants in Harrington – but my neighbours are quite good cooks! We have events in the community hall occasionally, like a dance or a concert or a Christmas potluck. The annual summer picnic at Harrington Pond is one of the best park barbecues in southern Ontario!
The Happy Hills Park has a swimming pool and is only three minutes away. There’s skating in Embro, which is 15 minutes away. There isn’t much to do here as far as go and have a coffee, but it’s idyllic.
Mostly, things happen in the other towns.
Bonnie Innes, a sales representative at Sutton Group First Choice Realty Ltd., has lived in this area her entire life. She
loves promoting Harrington and its surrounding communities.
“Harrington is peaceful and so pretty with farmland, and people keep their properties up beautifully. There’s a lot of history in this area. It’s central to the bigger cities, but we don’t have the pollution or noise. It’s just laid back. And taxes are reasonable.”
AT A GLANCE
Average home price
Fewer than 100 (Township of Zorra)
St. Mary’s Memorial Hospital (18 km away in St. Marys). Emergency services, diagnostic imaging, cardiac care. Ambulance service to Harrington.
Stratford: 18 km; Woodstock: 33 km; London: 50 km; Kitchener: 50 km
Need to know
Village charm includes a conservation area with pond and heritage mill, campgrounds and trails, a baseball diamond and a playground. A converted church acts as library and town hall. St. Marys or Stratford offer even more close by.
Kids’ fishing derby in April
Summer garden tour
Harrington Grist Mill barbecue in August
Embro Fall Fair (15 km away)