Friday, November 7, 2014

Ontario, Canada: August 23 - September 4, 2014

This installment is about our time in Ontario. Bryce was born and raised in the village of Lakefield and his sister and her family still live there, so we visit at least yearly. Because Lakefield (which is now in the Township of Selwyn if you're searching for it on the Internet) is one of the places we are "at home" we don't give it as much press as it deserves. We really should have included a Lakefield reference in the "England-lite" portion of our last blog post - it's that charming and Englandy. [We often comment that Ms. Marple and a dead body should be showing up in the vicar's study any time now . . . which is why we don't go to the Anglican Church when we visit.] 

This visit was like many others in that much of our time was spent enjoying and catching up with friends and family.  But we also included a couple of tourist excursions.

Friends and Family

We stopped in the Toronto area on the way to Lakefield to see friends.  

Bryce With University Era Friends 
David and Karin Milne in Oakville

We stayed in Toronto for a few days with friend and fellow sailor Jim Thompson (he's been featured as a guest star crew member several times in this blog). Sadly we didn't get any pictures during our visit with him. We blame him because all he did was make us eat! Shame on him.  

In Lakefield we stayed at Sister Brenda's new home on the main street of the village (Queen Street - how Englishy is that?). The new-to-her old house is within walking distance to groceries, great coffee, a wonderful new restaurant (Riverhouse Company), the Otonabee River and churches representing almost every mainline Protestant denomination. We felt very protected.  

We got to see the most recent family addition and cutest kid on the planet our (Great Great - no kidding) Nephew Myles Kidd.

Myles With Grandma (Our Niece Susan)

We also had the pleasure of spending a day at the Neill-Estabrooks cottage at Jack Lake.

Bryce's Favorite Nephew: The One Manning The Grill
(This Time It's Scott)

Brenda and Molly - Hangin Out

(Great) Nephew Thomas, Ski Boat Captain 

Tourist Endeavors 

          The Niagara River Parkway

The drive along the Canadian side of the Ontario/New York border is beautiful. This is where tourists can stop and learn about the brave demise of Major-General Brock at the hands of the invading United States Army (see prior post). Those not so historically interested can visit beautiful gardens, picnic grounds and tourist rides over the Niagara River. The best food along the drive is had at various "farm stands" that sell produce and sandwiches.

From Our Stop We Could See New York, Sarah! 


Our first two nights were spent in Niagara-On-The-Lake, which likes to tell everyone it is Canada's prettiest town.  And it may well be.  It's also expensive and crowded -- but we stop there most times we travel to Canada because:

  • it is a quick-ish drive from Buffalo (not the U.S.'s prettiest town) our airport of choice (cheaper airfares and car rental prices than Toronto);
  • the region's wineries are fun to visit and they make some very good white wines (for the best Canadian reds, go west);
  • the Niagara River Parkway is spectacularly beautiful and even we can bicycle along it; and
  • the Shaw Festival turns out consistently good theater productions (U.S. Left Coasters - think: Ashland, Oregon's Shakespeare Festival).  

This trip we saw Shaw's Arms and the Man which we enjoyed a lot, and found a very comfortable bed and breakfast. If you're as allergic to Victoriana as we are becoming, try the Historic Lyons House. The breakfasts are delicious.

Lyons House
We visited a new-to-us winery, Caroline Cellars. Check, done that.  We also re-visited Inniskillin which is famous for ice wines which we don't particularly like. We were pleasantly surprised to like several of their "regular" whites.  

          The Peterborough Lift Lock

Our Lakefield-based tourist experience was a boat ride through the Peterborough Lift Lock - the highest hydraulic boat lift in the world (it must be - both our tour guide and Wikipedia say so). This particular lock is one of the 45 on the Trent-Severn Waterway, a canal system that winds its way through Southern Ontario from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. Hmmm - perhaps we should have had a Netherlands-lite reference in our prior "Europe Lite" post?

The lift lock is very cool to go over -- but Molly found it best not to dwell on the fact that the lift was built in 1904 while she was in a tour boat 65 feet above the river bank.

Heading Into the Lock

The Lock Operators

The Trent-Severn Maintenance Boat

A View From The River

Canadian Geese - Of Course!

And so passed our first two weeks in Canada. On the 4th of September we drove to Quebec - the subject of our next post!

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