• Photo: Kristin Barlowe

The country singer-songwriter recalls his childhood growing up in British Columbia’s East Kootenay region.

As a kid, I grew up in Bull River and then moved to Jaffray, B.C. The thing about East Kootenay is that it seems like its own corner of the world. It’s kind of isolated, and the pace of life isn’t like what I experience nowadays. That, plus the wildlife and the scenery, are still things I long for. Whenever I get to hang out there, it always evokes great memories and nostalgia.

I remember a lot of pond hockey. A lot of my hockey-playing friends from the city grew up in arenas, but I grew up on the ponds. If you had skates, a shovel and a pond, you were good to go.

I started playing pond hockey around third or fourth grade. I remember making goalie pads from foam taken out of a couch someone threw away. They didn’t help much with stopping a puck. We didn’t have boards, so the puck would get lost in snowdrifts. If we couldn’t find it, we knew we’d find frozen horse turds if we dug deep enough into the snow.

Probably one of my most enduring memories is of my house off in the distance — steam on the windows, mom making dinner — and us off on the pond, snow falling through the light, the sound of hockey sticks clacking and skates carving on ice.

There’s something about that lifestyle, with the thousands of acres of silence and solitude, that I appreciated when I was younger. When I get to go back to that world, I gain perspective and peace. I just love being in those places.

Famous Canadians and Canadian Geographic readers have shared their favourite places in our country on an interactive map. See it here.