It has been 23 years since Wayne Clark came to Golden on the vacation that would change his life forever.
Born in Sudbury and living in Windsor, Clark came out to Golden on a family trip at Christmas.
“I went back to Windsor and thought that it was kind of boring. I decided the time was right to do something about it,” he said. “Imagine you live in a big city where the only people you know are your friends at work and your neighbours, who live on either side of your apartment building.”
He added, “Then you come out here and everyone says hello and talks to you. They are not afraid to voice their opinions or share their ideas. They are more open by nature.”
Clark also spoke fondly of the natural beauty and outdoor way of life in the area.
“You have skiing 15 minutes away, fishing five minutes away, and hunting 20 minutes away. Everything you could want to do is within 30 minutes.”
Clark said he sees living in Golden as being better than most vacation spots that people try to visit once a year.
“When you think of people spending months of the year working, just to have a two-week vacation. And then when they go on the vacation they go ape nuts to try and do everything. Our lives out here are better than most people’s vacations,” he said.
Clark keeps himself busy by being involved with the Lion’s Club and volunteering with groups in town like Kicking Horse Culture.
“It is incredible in this town. The businesses here are mostly small and family operated. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to raise awareness of, the businesses here are overwhelming sometimes,” he said. “Whenever you are trying to raise funds they are always there.”
The only pet peeve he has is watching people drag chairs across the Golden Civic Centre floor.
“The Civic Centre has gone through a beautiful renovation. I do some work at the centre and when I see someone drag a chair across the floor it brings out the inner junk yard dog in me,” he said smiling.
Clark also has a special friendship with Willie Forest (a large walking and talking bear) who appears at many town functions. Willie was spotted at the Santa Claus Parade having fun with children in town.
“I have been his trainer for many years. I just know that he likes to party, eat pancakes and hamburgers, and where people are having fun he likes to get in on it.”
As for Golden, Clark said even though it has changed some things stay the same.
“Golden has changed for the better in most cases. It is nice to have the councillors as neighbours and you can go and talk to them about issues,” he said.