The Road to Home

The Road to Home

words & photos:: Colin Field

For Jody Wilson and his wife, the move to Collingwood was a ‘no-brainer.’ They met at Wilfred Laurier University and their first ‘real jobs’ were in Burlington, Ontario. But moving to Collingwood was always part of their plan.

“We wanted to be here,” says Jody Wilson. “Because of the water, because of the skiing, because of the biking, the hiking. We had two dogs. We wanted to be here for the lifestyle for sure.”

And in 2005, when an opportunity to do GIS work in the planning department at the Town of Collingwood came up, the couple made the move. In 2007 a job (with what would later become Epcor) came up and Wilson has been there ever since. Managing electricity distribution Epcor gets power from Hydro One, then distributes it to 17,500 customers in Thornbury, Creemore, Staynor and Collingwood.

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Jody Wilson with a mapping system he designed and helped implement for Epcor in Collingwood, Ontario.

“I look after the GIS systems,” says Wilson. “So I built, designed and populated the databases for all the electricity.”

His degree in geography and post-grad work in GIS (Geographic Information System) have served him well. During his first five years here he also worked at Blue Mountain as a snowboard instructor.

“I did the Tuesday and Wednesday after-school programs.” he remembers. “That was a lot of fun.”

And surprisingly enough it was on the ski hill that road cycling took over his life.

“I grew up mountain biking, but road cycling for me really started here,” he says. “I remember sitting on a chairlift and a buddy saying, ‘you should come road riding with us this spring. Come road biking.’ So we went to Squire John’s that spring and Laura (his wife) and I literally bought the same bike. I went out with my friend and never looked back.

Jody Wilson road riding on another one of Collingwood’s great cycling routes.

“What’s great about riding around here is the diversity of roads and routes and surface type; you never get bored. If you do, just grab a different discipline of bike and change it up.  I also love all the local coffee shops and general stores that support the cycling industry. They have really embraced the culture and really do make it a better, unique experience.”

Nowadays, if you’re into road cycling in the Collingwood area, you know Jody Wilson. His Instagram feed (@jodydwilson) is proof that he rides more than you do. And he’s now an integral part of the community. A community that he’s happy to give back to.

“The cycling community here is amazing,” he says, “including the groups that are helping develop the youth scene like the Collingwood Cycling Club, Pedal Pushers and Rad Adventures. To me the grassroots development is vital to helping foster the sport as it evolves in our area.”

When asked if he’ll be cross-country skiing this winter (a classic winter alternative for hardcore road cyclists), he responds with one of the true first-world problems that affect Collingwood locals:

“The problem with Collingwood, is you have a mountain bike, a cross bike, a road bike, you get snowshoes, you get downhill skis, a snowboard, and you get kayaks,” he says. “Then I looked at getting cross country skis and it’s just like, do we really need another thing to do in the winter?”

Unless you’re uber fast, this is likely the view you’ll get of Jody Wilson while riding with him.

Touché my man, touché.

After living in Collingwood for over a decade, taking cycling trips throughout the world and even living, cycling and working in Girona, Spain for most of 2018, Jody and his wife are a staple in the local cycling scene. With no plans to change that.

“We still love Collingwood,” he says. “We love calling it home. We’re not going anywhere.” —ML