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Parry Sound’s Natural Beauty & How To Turn Passion into Livelihood

Posted on Friday December 01, 2017

After living overseas for 5 years, Meg Wallace was drawn back to Parry Sound, where she turned her passion for photography into a livelihood.  Meg’s talent, paired with Parry Sound’s natural beauty, has helped her create a happy, fullfilling work-life balance.

Returning to the Outdoor Lifestyle of Parry Sound

When returning from living in the Middle East, Meg and her husband David chose the Town of Parry Sound to be closer to family.  But Parry Sound also allowed Meg and David to enjoy an outdoors lifestyle without being far from the city centre.  Currently they live in a log home in the middle of the forest - only 8km away from town.  Meg and David not only go hiking, canoeing and kayaking from their doorstep, they take advantage of Parry Sound’s huge network of trails via cycling in summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Turning A Passion into A Business
Shortly after moving back to Parry Sound in 2011, Meg was encouraged by friends and family to sell some of her photographs for fun.  As a full-time teacher, she ran her business on the side, capturing families and weddings. As her business continued to grow, Meg decided to pursue photography full time in 2015

Located in the heart of cottage country, Ontario, Parry Sound brought in an influx of seasonal residents - and lots of weddings and family reunions - to provide Meg with heaps of portrait photography work.  Parry Sound’s natural beauty meant that Meg didn’t need a studio - she could just photograph her clients at their cottages. Meg works hard during summer, but she loves the lifestyle.  It gives her the opportunity to take long vacations in the off-season (this year, Meg and David travelled to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia for three and a half weeks); and to ski all winter.

Not limited to portrait photography, Meg also receives real estate and commercial work, recently photographing Seguin Valley Golf Club and filming and producing a promotional film for the Town of Parry Sound.

Business Support in Parry Sound
In 2017, Meg received a grant for her business, specific to small and medium sized businesses in Northern Ontario.  The BEAM (Broadband for E-business And Marketing) grant provides Meg with funding and education to help her with the online side of her business.  This helps Meg grow her photography website and social media aspects of her business.

Meg is also part of a PARO circle, where she and other female entrepreneurs form lending circles to self-approve each other’s loans. With over a hundred circles in Northern Ontario, Meg isn’t just providing financial support to her group, but also sharing her experience and advice with other entrepreneurs.

Meg’s Growing Success in Photography
Meg defines her success as the opportunity to turn her hobby into her career.  But more tangibly, Meg’s photography recently earned her a training session with Salvatore Cincotta - a top photographer and one of the most sought after business consultants in the industry.   Taking part in an international contest with over 200 applications, Meg won one of 10 places available.  In September, Meg flew to Illinois and learnt to take her business in Parry Sound to the next level.

Her location in Parry Sound has also enabled Meg to get involved with the local movie industry. Parry Sound has a local film studio and regularly attracts productions who appreciate the area’s natural beauty and close location to Toronto service providers.  

Last fall, Meg had the opportunity to take 'stills on set'. She photographed the actors and crew for the marketing purposes of the film 'The Dark'. In 2017, she was a location scout for the film 'Riot Girls'.

Meg feels there is an incredible opportunity for businesses in Parry Sound,  which when paired with the variation and excitement of daily life, is almost as magnificent as the local landscape.

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