A Travellerspoint blog

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Orr to Ottawa

semi-overcast 25 °C
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This Blog entry is too LONG, but the Trip is Worth It! We left Timmins on Sunday, June 11 and drove south on Hwy11 through Matheson, Kirkland Lake and New Liskeard then onto a secondary Hwy that skirted the eastern shoreline of Lake Temiskaming in Quebec. Lots of hard rock mining (silver and gold) and clay-belt farming in these areas. Quaint small towns with prominent Catholic churches dotted our way until we crossed the Ottawa River and re-entered Ontario north and east of North Bay. Hot day so we shut things down early and found a nice KOA in Sturgeon Falls. Much better bang for the buck than the local Ont. PP for sure. Had a TV in the social room so we watched Game 6 of the Cup Final.

Couldn’t find the Dionne Quints' Home in Callander south of North Bay so we drove west along the Magnetawan River (Voyageur's route), to Parry Sound and one of Hockey’s Holiest Shrines, the Bobby Orr Museum. Larry took shots on a fake Tony Esposito (106km/hr by the way), and bought a #4 fridge sticker. Larry recalled seeing Bobby play his first game against the Leafs in The Gardens. "Fourever #4!"IMG_1985.jpg

Skirted around Georgian Bay through Stayner, Collingwood, Thornbury to Owen Sound. Stopped in Southampton to view the very blue waters of LakeHuron (think sediment refraction) and South's famous beach. P1010434.jpgDrove the back road to Port Elgin then south on the Bluewater Highway to Point Farms PP just north of Goodrich. It's the site of one of the last century's glorious beach resorts. (think Chateau Lake Louise without the Rockies)
The next day we wandered the shops in downtown Goderich (nailed by a monster tornado a couple of years ago) and quaint Bayfield (Inns, Pubs and HUGE Maples). Goodrich boasts a SIFTO salt mine and port. Salt is mined from beneath this second largest, freshwater Great Lake. P1010398.jpgPlenty of grain, corn, beef and dairy cattle, sheep and pig farms in these parts. Century barns dating from before Confederation too. Backroads in SW Ontario (County Roads), are better than most other provinces’ highways and connect quaint towns and villages (e.g. Brussels, Palmerston, Blythe, etc) that all boast at least one functioning church and often, a converted, one-room, brick school house still wearing its bell. Some 'Old Order' Mennonite families bustling about in their horse-drawn buggies too. We watched the sun drown in the Lake while sipping Pelee Island red wine.

Early start to the day took us SE to Stratford to walk the parks, see swans, and star gaze (for Christopher Plummer; Kathy bumped into him on Ontario St. there once, CBC's Pete Mansbridge or The Beeb) and enjoy HMS Pinafore at the Avon Theatre (pronounced with short a). Wonderful production and cheap seats in the second balcony. Larry thought they were ‘worth every penny.’ IMG_2039.jpgDins in town then back-roaded through Listowel (where Larry was born), to Palmerston (another bit of Larry history), then home. Capped the night talking ‘wetlands and owls' with Gary and Anita from Chepstow near Walkerton. Gary is a Ducks Unlimited birder who regularly gumboots through one of the largest bogs in Ontario (out his back door) with his binocs and camera. Found lots in common with these two adventurers.

P1010506.jpgHeaded south through London to Port Burwell on Lake Erie's north shore where we met up with our Woodstock/Rocky Mountain-Mosquito Creek friends Jules and Suzette. We were greeted by a male Cardinal dressed in his red suit. Before slurping on ice cream cones from the local Parlour (still warm waffle cones), we walked out onto the breakwater to watch fishermen motor up with their catch. P1010496.jpg Burwell boasts a submarine; a decommissioned 1968 HMS sub that spied on Cold War ships; it now traps tourists in its hold. We resisted!

The next day, Jules and Suzette drove us to Port Stanley to watch fishing tugs unload their white perch (on ice). Fishing on Erie is a multi-million $ industry; it's the most profilic fishery on the Great Lakes due to its fishing basins (or holes) and proximity to the hungry, fish-loving, Toronto market. Drove to Rush Creek Vineyard to sip on fruit wines and watch the sky for forecasted tornadoes.

Stinky socks forced us to the laundry then to Long Point PP to see snakes, turtles, geese and big sand dunes. There really are turtle crossings! Like bear jams in the Rockies, we got stopped by a turtle jam. On our way way back to Port Burwell, we discovered a United Empire Loyalist cemetery dating back to the early 1800s. Eight soldiers killed during the War of 1812 rest there. P1010520.jpgMore ice Cream treats at the Port Burwell Parlour capped off the day. Kathy dripped maple walnut on her clean Tee.

Early on June 19, we waved so-long to our friends then scooted along Erie’s Waterfront Trail to Port Colborne, Crystal Beach, Selkirk, Dunnville and eventually to Rock Point PP. NICE SPOT! Lots of fossils in the semi exposed ancient coral reef. After parking the Yellow Trailer, we headed to Fort Erie (the back way) across the Welland Canal (saw a huge ship scraping the canal walls as it slowly moved through under a raised bridge), then along the Niagara Parkway following the frothy Niagara River to The Falls (way too many tourists), to Laura Secord’s homestead. No Secord chocolates though; guess she forgot to bring the Holstein cow home after warning the Brits. Popped into Greaves Jams and Marmalades in Niagara-on-the-Lake before heading back another rural route to Rock Point. Thank you GPS lady. The crowds made the day feel a little Banff-like on a May long weekend. NASTY!

Somehow we safely navigated the craziness of the Golden Horseshoe Highways around St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, TORONTO and Oshawa. The Yellow Trailer never travelled so fast! Drove past 31 Beaufield in Leaside where Larry played ball hockey, shot hoops, played Lone Ranger and Superman, and learned to lift the toilet seat. How come the Maple tree in the front yard looks so much bigger? Jockeying our way down the twelve lanes of Hwy 401, we eventually reached the Kawartha Highlands and Emily PP (home of Spike the Snapping Turtle), near Peterborough. We found our chosen site flooded; too much rain the past month, so we chose something higher and drier. The Park is named after Governor Simcoe’s daughter (not our Emily but we choose to think so!)

The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is Spectacular! Bill Mason and former PM P.E.T. would be proud. In fact, their canoes and buckskin jackets are on display along with canoes, kayaks, skiffs, paddles etc. of all ages, sizes and makes. Took scads of pics and Kath had to 'pry and paddle' Larry away, and that’s no 'yoke'. P1010569.jpgSaw Peterborough’s highest and oldest hydraulic lift lock. Only four of these were built in the world and this is the highest of them all. The Yellow found its resting spot amongst 'The Sugar Bush' of Silver Lake PP not far from Perth. Beer and DEET for supper!

Lovely June 22 sunshine welcomed us to Perth, Ont., one of Canada's prettiest towns, about an hour’s drive east of Ottawa. Kath and her family lived in Perth for six years when she was an elementary schooler. The town boasts century-plus, old stone buildings, towering maples, chestnuts and oaks, and water flowing along the Tay River Canal, part of the famed Rideau Canal system. Took some pics of her old (but stunning) stone house and popped into St. Paul’s UC where Kath’s Dad served as Minister. IMG_2120.jpgIMG_2118.jpgSpotted a mid-60s pic of him in the church office. Young and Forceful are words that describe him in the Church's Chronicles. After cruising the downtown core, we set our bearings for Ottawa to set Kathy and her four sisters up in their 5-star Hilton in Gatineau in prep for their Thursday date at Rideau Hall with the Governor General to proudly accept the Meritorious Service Medal on behalf of their Dad, Dr. Bruce Vanstone who co-founded the Calgary Urban Project Society, a health and service facility for at-risk and disadvantaged people. Larry retreated to Wesley Clover Campground about 30 minutes SW of The Hill to swat gnats, eat beans and preview the new, great photos that he just posted in our public gallery.

Posted by YellowTrailer 13:43 Archived in Canada Comments (6)

OLD Ontario

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Think you know lots about CANADA? Then take our post-Canada Day Quiz at the bottom of this blog!

We arrived in Ottawa just in time for Kathy to rendezvous with her sisters at the Hilton Lac Leamy in Gatineau in prep for the Medal Ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 23. Larry scooted back to Wesley Clover Park about 30 minutes away for some 'alone time' with his golf clubs.

Larry toured the Canadian War Museum (golf game got rained out), then did laundry while Heather, Sheila, Sue and Barb shuttled to Rideau Hall to witness Kathy accepting, on behalf of her Dad, a Meritorious Service Medal by GG David Johnston. A Fantastic, Memorable Experience had by all including, one suspects, her Dad Bruce and Mom Helen! We can't post the pro pic of Kathy with the medal and GG on this blog because of copyright, so if you want to see it, send us an e-mail and we'll send it along.

After dodging raindrops which seemed to schmuck the Yellow Trailer endlessly, Larry picked up Kath and Sheila from the Hilton in time for a Cora's breakfast and an airport run. After Sheila took off for Kelowna, we toured the RCMP's Musical Ride stables and patted a few of the 32 black RCMP horses. Larry’s equine allergies prevented further snuggling.P1010686.jpg

We headed south to Merrickville then to Kingston and a very tidy KOA and another BIG thunderstorm. While in Kingston we ate pizza at Wooden Heads, toured John A’s house, RMC, Fort Henry, Queen's Univ and downtown. Kingston's an impressive town with a funky core and plenty of history including Gord Downie's THE HIP! Larry drank some Bobcaygeon beer in his honour. P1010736.jpgLater, we drove to Harrowsmith but no magazine in site.

The Merrickville Lions' Campground was our next stop just in time to see a canoe brigade (one of The Four Winds), paddle into one of the 1832 Rideau locks. This and 3 other brigades were paddling to Ottawa from the east, west, south and north in time for July 1 Celebrations. We watched the lockmasters crank the crabs (1830s tech) to open and close the lock gates. We toured the largest of 4 Blockhouses built by Colonel By’s engineers, Scottish stone masons and Irish labourers, to protect the canal system. Merrickville’s boasts quaint industrial ruins including a saw mill, grist mill and foundry (dating back to 1790), stone houses, shops and country lanes. Merrickville could have been Canada’s capital but the decision to more strategically locate the nation's Capital further away from the USA at the confluence of the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers sealed the deal.P1010771.jpg

LOTS of rain! The Yellow Trailer floats! Gore-Tex works!

On June 30 we headed to Fitzroy Harbour PP on the almost flooding, Ottawa and Carp Rivers. On July 1 we were up early to head to Ottawa but the rain was torrential. The radio was reporting 3-5 hour security waits to get onto the Hill, more rain and lightning. So we changed plans and drove to Renfrew to see if any Celebrations were happening; none there so onto Perth. Rain affected plans in both towns so we ate muffins and drank coffee in a quaint stonehouse coffee shop beside the Tay Canal in Perth.IMG_2255.jpg

Our last day in Ottawa was spent watching the Ottawa CHAMPS play baseball against the New Jersey JACKALS in the RCGT stadium, a 10,000 seat stadium originally built to house Ottawa’s former AAA team. Kath got cheeky with CHAMP; how come MASCOTS always have big heads? IMG_2283.jpgWe got rained on in the top of the 8th; so did The Champs, who were defeated 2-1. Both teams played almost error-free ball and the hot dogs and Coke hit the homeruns. Since we missed The Hill's fireworks on the 1st, we were serenaded to sleep by some locals (probably Fitzroy Harbour Andersons), blasting off some not too shabby crackers just across the Carp River from the campground. Pronounce CARP through your nose (Ottawa Valley-like).

Sunshine led us south on #416 to old highway #2 which skirts the St. Lawrence River south of the long-weekend-crazy #401. Pulled onto the Long Sault Parkway at Ingleside and soon found our campsite in McLaren Campground. IMG_2289.jpgWhen the St. Lawrence Seaway was constructed in the mid 50s and early 1960s, farmland was flooded and communities (there since the 1780s), were re-located (or not) to higher ground, resulting in a series of 5 islands all connected by the Parkway and most having a campground park. Very pretty and manicured but still soggy. On a good day, Larry might be able to chuck a stone and hit 'The Donald' on the south shore; that’s how close the USA is. No wonder the Upper Canadians, Indigenous people and Brits were so fearful of an 1812 invasion.

July 4 and it's our Bryan’s 35th Birthday! Went to Upper Canada Village about a ten minute drive west to see, feel, hear and taste a little bit of U.E.L. in U.C. in 1860. Many of the stone houses, the grist mill, sawmill, etc., are period pieces and were moved here as part of the Seaway flood plan. IMG_2305.jpgGreat day and learned lots so here's our Post-Canada Day Quiz. If you score, 6/6, Larry says he’ll award prizes. But don’t count on it; he’s a briber.

1. What do the letters U.E.L. stand for (really)?
a) United Empire Lover
b) Union of Environmental Lobbyists
c) United Empire Loyalist
d) Uppity Edwardian Loser

2. What is a Tinsmith’s forge called?
a) Tinner’s Stove
b) Tinker’s Shack
c) Smitty’s Oven
d) Tim Horton's

3. A man who trained and drove Oxen was called?IMG_2316.jpg
a) Oxman
b) Drover
n) Teamster
d) Steersman

4. Why didn’t 1860 bakers make bread for home consumption?
a) They made bread only for commercial sale.
b) Bakers made pastry not bread.
c) Bakers made bricks not bread.
d) Yeast rose after 1880.

5. What is a bolter?
a) A dressmaker who unravels bolts of cloth.
b) A settler deemed to be mentally unstable.
c) A tool used to cut bolts.
d) A big flour sieve.

6. Why did coffins have windows?
a) To identify the dead person before burial.
b) To ensure that no body fluids were leaking from the corpse.
c) To let ‘God’ in.
d) To ensure that the corpse was face-up.

Send your answers to us and the names of winners will be posted in the next blog. P.S. Find the secret word in the Answer Bank (teachers call these distractors), for SPECIAL recognition! NO GOOGLING ANSWERS!

Today we're in Cornwall to get the car’s oil changed and a new headlight bulb installed. Already covered over 11,000 km since we left Vic on May 1. Lots of wandering about with more to come! La Belle Province demain!

Posted by YellowTrailer 11:06 Archived in Canada Comments (5)

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