"Off to Market was recommended to me by my next-door neighbour's grand-daughter's husband. Nice fellow, works in advertising. I was toying with the idea of starting up a fly fishing shop, and needed some assistance figuring out all these website dodads and getting some ads in the local paper.

Nowadays, fly fishing isn't what it used to be. Boy, I tell you, back in the thirties, my father would take me fly fishing in the Credit River, and you could barely get in to the creek what for all the fishermen. We'd pull out chinooks and trout the size of your arm and drag them back to the shore in ratty old nets my mama held together with old fishing line. Tasty as can be! I remember, my dad told me the river got its name because the old french traders would swap goods with the Mississauga tribe who ran the river, but they'd do it on credit, coming back some time later to collect the furs and what not from the locals.

So, I had a lot of flies and old rods and such I was looking to get rid of. Don't get out as much as I used to what with the bad knees and all. Plus, I know this old guy, lives over on Fitzgibbon Ave, out there by Midland. He's got some friend who runs a tackle shop or outfitters or something up north, so I figured I could get him to rustle up some new equipment, and I could take to selling it. Not many fly fishing shops in Toronto nowadays. I remember a shop that ran out of an storefront on Yonge St. back in the '60s. Great place, full of everything you could ever need and a few things you never would. Ran by a guy named Doug. Doug Travis? Thompson? Something with a "T" in it. Boy, I tell you, that guy knew more about fly fishing then anyone I ever have met. Went back there in the '80s to try and get my hands on a real proper scaling knife, but it had since become a tavern of sorts, and what I saw inside I did not care to have seen.

What I wanted to do was start up a real proper fly fishing store, just like old Dougies. After I told all of this to my neighbour, Janet, she said 'You should talk to my grand-daughter. Her husband is in advertising and he'll know just what to do!' I think her grand-daughter's name is Samantha. I remember that because I once dated a pretty young woman named Samantha, though everyone else called her 'Sam' but that never did sit quite right with me. Kept making me think of that character from Casablanca, played by Dooley Wilson. Funny thing is he couldn't actually play the piano, so it seemed like an odd choice to cast him as a piano player. Boy could he sing though! Regardless, you don't want to be thinking of Dooley Wilson when you're trying to make good with any young woman, so I took to calling her Samantha instead.

Janet's grand-daughter was kind enough to put me in touch with her husband, Peter, who did indeed work in advertising. And Pete, as he told me to call him, put me right in touch Jason from Off to Market. They gave me some real excellent advice, enough to know that starting up a fly fishing store probably wasn't as easy as Dougie made it look over there on Yonge St. Plus, that Jason got rid of the Yahoo from my computer, which is just what I needed. From me, Off to Market sure seems to know their stuff!

~ Tom Bernelli, Neighbour