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Doug O'Neill

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“The best way to connect with locals and tap into the ‘real flavour’ of a destination is to ask where you can get a hair cut, buy shoe laces, get a good coffee outside city centre or what’s the shortest route to the bus depot. If none of those work, simply ask where you can buy an adaptor for your mobile phone. Trust me, you’ll be sent in every direction under the sun – and isn’t that the best way of discovering a place?” O’Neill, originally from a small Ontario hamlet called Phelpston (“it boasted a population of 139 when I left town after high school”) but now based in Toronto, also appreciates the benefit of having local connections. “If I catch wind that the second cousin of my neighbour’s daughter’s mechanic lives in a place, I’m on the phone the minute I arrive,” says O’Neill, who discovered (much to his surprise) that he had various connections to Peterborough & Kawarthas which he’s been using to get the inside scoop on our region. “My cousin ended up working in Peterborough for a while, my best friend went to Fleming College in Peterborough and ended up buying a house there, and one of my hiking pals is close friends with the owner of a local Peterborough cafe… Trust me, those connections are better than any guide book!”

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