Why Joel Axler loves being one of two Jews living in Walkerton

(Photo by Ken Lund/Flickr Creative Commons)

Many years ago, when Joel Axler first moved to Walkerton, Ont., he was sitting in a diner when a postal worker walked in and asked him a question: “Are you in the witness protection program?”

People from the big cities, she explained, don’t usually move to the town of fewer than 5,000 people, which sits about halfway between Toronto and Tobermory. Axler explained he was not being hunted by criminals—he just liked the place.

Axler spent years in show business, having co-founded the Yuk Yuk’s comedy club in the 1970s. When a job opportunity presented itself in Walkerton, he found he enjoyed the simple life: no chasing invoices, pitching clients or dealing with politics. Life was affordable, nature was nearby. Why not stay?

On today’s episode, Axler joins his old friend Ralph to talk about why he moved, why he stayed and what life is like as one of only two Jews in town.


Yehupetzville is hosted by Ralph Benmergui. Michael Fraiman is the producer and editor. Our music was arranged by Louis Simão and performed by Louis Simão and Jacob Gorzhaltsan. Our sponsor is PearTree Canada, which you can learn more about at peartreecanada.com. This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network—find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.