It's interesting to see what happens to a town when its purpose changes. Casselman, Ontario was once a small town which serviced a farming community. Small stores lined the main street, the centre of which was the church. Now some are empty. Most business has moved to the outskirts. There is still a place to buy farm implements, but the town has a different clientele.
For many, Casselman is just a place to stop en route between Ottawa and Montreal. Gas is less expensive than in Montreal and it is a quick detour off the highway. Tim Hortons, that Canadian icon is also handy to travellers. Before I started spending time in Casselman, I, too used these services.
The "downtown" of Casselman has moved. With the opening of bigger stores, like Canadian Tire, commerce has moved away from the centre and closer to the highway. These stores serve the small towns nearby and offer jobs to the locals, albeit low-paying jobs. The town has lost its character.
With its proximity to the highway, Casselman has become a bedroom community for Ottawa. Housing developments have sprung up. These are the new clientele of Casselman, but most work outside of town. They want services, such as the bigger stores, but did not grow up with an attachment to the place the way the previous farming community did. And so the town has become "any town," North America, with little to set it apart from the many suburban areas near our cities.