Why I Live Here: WARKWORTH

It’s a bit of a drive for actor Tom McCamus, 57, from his home in Warkworth, Ont. – a town with a thriving population of artists – to his acting gigs at the Stratford Festival. You won’t hear him complaining about the commute, though, citing “the peaceful living” as the primary incentive he and wife, actress Chick Reid, call Warkworth home. McCamus is a veteran of the acting game, having earned Dora, Gemini and Genie awards during a career that includes 120 stage and film performances. This Stratford season, he tackles two of the Bard’s best-known shows, playing Friar Laurence in Stratford’s Romeo and Juliet, and Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, in which Reid also performs.

The Hills Are Alive

“[Chick and I] lived in Toronto for many years, and we were looking for a place to live in the country. We fell in love with this area because of the rolling hills and beautiful countryside. Chick breeds Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers. Now, we can open the door and they just run. We have a 100-year-old barn-shaped farmhouse [with] really wonderful carpentry inside. I’ve put in hardwood floors. It’s a great thing to do, when I’m not acting. It’s kind of the opposite. You’re working with your hands and by yourself.”

Farming Artists

“There are a lot of artists in the Warkworth area. There’s a group of visual artists called Spirit of the Hills. And in Campbellford, the Westben Arts Festival Theatre opens up its doors – in a field! There’s a wonderful sense of artistry. All the neighbours on our road are farmers, but they’re interested in what we do. When you farm you’re your own boss, and when you’re an artist it’s the same thing. And there’s certainly an artistry to farming. It’s a wonderful group of people, and they all seem to work together to make this quite a remarkable community.”

Village Life

“At the annual Long Lunch, they put a whole pile of tables right down the main street and cover them with tablecloths. There’s a jazz band playing, and everybody eats. We have all sorts of different things here, art galleries and a candle factory and a glassmaking artisans’ store. My favourite shop is Metaphorhome. A lot of stuff in our home comes from his place. Whenever I get flowers, I go Bittersweet Flowers. When we’re doing shows and have opening gifts, we always try to buy from the village.”

No One’s An Outsider Here

“There are a fair amount of people who have retired to the area. There’s a search for peaceful living, particularly if you’ve been living and working in the city, and that’s what these people offer. We’re members of the service club, and we do fundraising events to help anybody who’s in need in the area. That’s how you get to know people, too. Warkworth opens its arms to everybody. Nobody’s shutting you out because you weren’t born here.” —Lisa Bendall



Like many of her neighbours, Astrid Hood left a hectic city to establish a quieter lifestyle in Warkworth. She’s a sales rep with Re/Max Eastern Realty Inc., Brokerage. “As people get closer to retirement, they’re willing to get away from the busy pace of life. We have a lot of people out here who have discovered a connection to other retired professionals and other rural people. This is the place to be, because you’ve got diversity and culture, and you‘re only a short drive away from Toronto.”



Average home price $189,224

Population 800

Health care Campbellford Memorial Hospital has 24-hour emergency services. More specialized care is available in nearby Peterborough or Belleville.

Distance to Peterborough:

51 km; Belleville: 60 km; Kingston: 134 km; Toronto: 160 km

Need to know Brimming with eclectic and stylish shops and boutiques, Warkworth attracts day-trippers looking for quality merchandise. Real estate prices are low; housing is a mix of established working farms, century homes and newly built houses.

— Art in the Park show and sale

— Lilac Festival

— Warkworth Western Weekend summer rodeo

— Long Lunch on Main Street

— Warkworth Gallery Hop