Posted by
• 03.31.09 01:02 pm

Sure, city life has a lot to offer — but sometimes it’s nice to be partying with old pals in the small town where you were raised and subsequently got the fuck-out of as soon as you could.

Sure, city life has a lot to offer —  but sometimes it’s nice to be partying with old pals in the small town where you were raised and subsequently got the fuck-out of as soon as you could.

For those of us who grew up in these small towns, going home is like taking a vacation to a place where tight pants are still weird, and Sublime never got old. My own personal Shangri-La, where I spent my youth skateboarding and listening to NOFX, is a town 2 hours north of Toronto called Penetanguishene.

Its population is about 8,000, and is located between a few smaller townships full of Frenchies and farmers. I don’t know what the name means, but generally we call it Penetang for short – or Poontang if you want to be ironic. (Not ironic like your t-shirt, but ironic because it’s impossible to get laid here, or at least, extremely unpleasant).

Anyway: I grew up here and got the fuck out as soon as I could. Afterwards, I spent about four years in university, hundreds of miles away, and when I graduated this December I decided to take off for South America (right now I’m in La Paz). But before the traveling began, I went back home for a visit with mom and who ever in the old crew was still around.

Mostly I hung out with this one dude, my good old friend Benny.

He is the only coke dealer I have ever met who brings the scale out with him, and one big bag of dope, and weighs it out right there on the spot. (This is possible in small towns because parties don’t happen at bars, where a scale would prove troublesome, but always in basements or outdoors around fires. On a similar point there are NO BARS there, except for the Legion, and the kids all go get drunk at the Boston Pizza, in the next town, on Friday nights.)

The first night we hung out we watched cool dance videos on TV for a while and then I wanted a pack of smokes, so we walked 20 minutes to the only corner store. This is what the streets look like at night:

No side walks, hardly any lights, and plenty of snow. Maybe it was the ecstasy we parachuted earlier, but the stars were out in amazing numbers and I fell in love with the absolute silence of the place – there was no wind and no noise, except our crunchy footsteps. I felt like I was in a dream world and I even started wondering why I ever left this place…

Benny is on unemployment during winters and he is in love with only two things: his beautiful girl and his snowmobile. I remember him being a scary driver in highschool – he used to drive at crazy speeds in his underwear, grasping a bottle of vodka in one hand, swerving around bends and trees to make it out to bush parties — so I was pretty worried when he told me we were gonna go out and go for a ‘big rip’ on his sled on one of the many frozen, picturesque lakes in the area the next morning.

Hesitations aside, the next day I put on some of his girl’s snow gear and we set out. Here’s me looking like a loser in girl pants:

It was a sunny day and there was a layer of water on top of the ice. He drove at least 100 mph and it felt like it would take just one miscalculated turn and we’d spin out, fly through the air and bash our skulls before plunging to our icy deaths.

At one point, he parked the sled in the middle of the lake for a bit; when he saw the worry painted on my face he said: “Don’t worry bud… You only need two inches of ice to support us..” Then he jumped up and down on the ice. “Look at that! Fuck! at least six inches here..”

Across the lake he showed me this little shack where a dude lives with his dog.

And here is the “bum casserole” Benny found beneath the bed (a casserole made of pennies, nickels and cigarette butts):

We smoked a roach joint, drank a tall German beer and ate a few Percocets before heading out once more to the ice, this time on foot, under the full splendor of the sunny Northern Ontario winter day. Jesus, it was so beautiful.

Later that night we took a cab out to another pal’s house to jam in his basement. I was shocked and pleased to learn that the cab driver was the dude who lives in the shack! Here is a picture of him, his name’s Andy, and he seemed nice.

Andy told me he actually doesn’t live in the shack anymore, though, but that he used to when he couldn’t afford the rent or something about the cops. . .  I can’t remember.

Anyway, all the good times aside, by the third day, it started to get real boring. I still have some pals who live with their parents, and none of them all really seem that happy. Most want to get out, now, too. And although it is a nice relief from a life in a bigger place, where there’s always shit you have to do and buy and people to deal with, I would never go back if it wasn’t for visiting mom.

-Tobes McSquire

  1. stoof says:

    Northern Ontario? Penetang’s more southern than Minneapolis. You’re ten minutes outside of Barrie, a cab ride away from modern bars and all the amenities.

  2. Biff says:

    Gotta love a town with the word ANGUISH in it.

    Was this supposed to be a “can’t go home again” kinda thing?

    Explain how you were once a townie somewhere random.
    then explain how you are now not a townie but you are a person who globetrots and does lots of different kinds of drugs and listens to all kinds of interesting music.
    Go back to town you grew up to see the disparity between the rest of the town and you.
    Hang out with townie friend for ironic purposes.
    Do townie things for ironic purposes.
    Do drugs.
    Check out local party for ironic purposes.
    Love or Hate your family. (you can swap them out to suit your needs.)

    Sounds like a fucking Big Chill Garden State Jackoff party.

  3. cat pawsgrove says:

    sweet scene, yeah mcsquire!

  4. cat pawsgrove says:

    You’re cute as

  5. 26 years old says:

    “Big Chill Garden State Jackoff party”

    m-m-m-my generationnnn, yeah.

  6. VVTF says:


    Pootie Tang Gushin?

  7. VVTF says:

    2 many words for my 4th grade reading level ass but hey loser in girl pants McSquire you’re fucking hot

  8. Skunk says:

    @stoof: geography is not your forte.

  9. stoof says:

    @skunk: check a map

  10. davey says:

    toby i thought you were from midland

  11. Uhm says:

    Why don’t you mention that you went to University in Ottawa instead of “Hundreds of miles away”

  12. The Mayor says:

    My uncle went to prison in Pennetang. Twice.

  13. srsly says:

    you forgot to mention the cabbie`s an axe murderer and child molester

  14. northrop says:

    @ stoof Penetang is North of Toronto. Anything north of Toronto is called Northern Ontario, especially if you come from Ontario. That’s the rule.

    @Davey he didn’t go to Ottawa U.

  15. davey says:

    @Northrop i know that ding dong
    @ @ing i hate message boards

  16. Toilet Punishment and the human response says:

    You are all hopped up on goofballs

  17. Toilet Punishment and the human response says:

    I think you look cute in girls snowpants

  18. fatass says:

    It was the best time of our lives…. Tralslala

  19. ??? says:

    “Anything north of Toronto is considered Northern Ontario.” When is the last time you heard someone say, “i spent my vacation up in Northern Ontario, in the Muskokas, eh”. Not likely. Timmins, Kapuskasing, Thunder Bay = Northern Ontario. And that’s not a rule, that’s a fact. Look it up. I dare you. I fucking dare you.

  20. foul says:

    cool story looks almost as shitty as canberra

  21. Jamie says:

    THank you ???, Thunder Bay is fucking north….it’s snowing like a motherfucker here right now. When I’m down in muskoka this summer it might as well be fucking Miami for all I care…Penetanguishene is less than two hours from Toronto…

    Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Small town Ontario can be awesome (Ontario Today sure makes it sound great), though once you remember all the methlabs and crippling addiction it gets a little less rosey…the further north you get only makes that more obvious…..Sure is pretty though.

  22. Kennedy says:

    Does “parachute” a drug mean shove said drug up your ass?

  23. Jamie says:

    Hahaha, no it does not.

  24. paraschtoomper says:

    parachute is when you split open a pill or put some powdery substance inside a rolling paper and wrap it up like candy and swallow it.

  25. paraschtoomper says:

    …unless your talking about weed. that’s different story

  26. paraschtoomper says:

    This is very well written

  27. idk says:

    Westport (pop 600, part of the Rideau Canal) Parachutes are a 2L pop bottle with a milk bag taped to the bottom. You put the weed in the tinfoil bowl and pull the milk bag down from the bottle and it fills with smoke. Then inhale!

  28. Crystal Steph says:

    Hi Toby. You are a street boner.

  29. Joey Odessa says:

    No he isn’t. I can smell the Earnest T. Bass on him from here.

  30. CaptainQueef says:

    hey toby i liked your story a lot, the picture of you in the girls pants is priceless!

    Penetang is an awesome town, i have a lot of memories from there too, my buddies and i go up every summer on their boat and camp out on the native reserve islands for a few days. good times!

  31. ew says:

    OMG y do u keep doing scene reports from canada i would 1000x rather read a scene report from turkmenistan or belarus or even fucking serbia , it would b so much less boring, cuz when serbs go get drunk in the woods they dont play around in the snow, they start genociding some mofos.

  32. ew says:

    ^ p.s that genocide was uncool serbia, our white muslims r a very rare natural resource, while we got white christians out the wazoo.

  33. Liquor Store says:

    Why is everyone treating the author like he’s wee-tahded? Is he? This is so fucking boring I just lost control of all bodily functions. Shit is literally everywhere. Now I finally feel like I have something in common with this site.

  34. honky killer says:


    coke, e, percs, bud and german beer, snowmobiles, and bush parties!!!??? I am jealous!!! I grew up in an old mafia run steel honky town and it was so shady. I had a hard time doing all of that in a short time frame! Gotta build up trust with the “gangstas”. Well maybe in 10 years for my 20th high shool reunion…

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