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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Ontario Trip

Just over a week ago, I took advantage of an offer to ride south with my sister and brother-in-law to spend some time with my friend Lynne. I dropped Heidi off at my blogging friend and neighbour, Jenny. Here new farm property has lots of safe space for Heidi as well as her five dogs. I am very comfortable leaving her here. Jenny is as fond of her as I am.

After a couple of days with Lynne at her home in Mississauga, debating what we should do with our time together. It came down to a few days at Niagara Falls seeing the sites, eating well, touring a winery and perhaps taking in a theatrical production at the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, or, a motor trip to the shore of southern Georgian Bay and a few days finding our way home to my place by a very scenic route. We finally agreed upon the latter.

We drove due north from Mississauga to the resort (skiing and boating) area around Collingwood, on the shore of Nottawasaga Bay, the southern shore of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. Lynne grew up spending her summers in this area. As an adult, she brought her children here to her parent's summer cottage . One of her brothers still owns their parent's cottage on the waterfront. For nearly 50 years, her extended family have held a reunion and golf tournament in this area. She wanted to share with me this area she thought of as "the North" where she has spend so many years and cherishes so many memories. This is a lovely part of Southern Ontario within an easy drive of Toronto. It is still a rural farming area with strings of small towns along the shore where industry and tourism flourishes.

The skiing area is adjacent to Collingwood in an amalgamated community know as Blue Mountains, the largest community in this area is Thornbury. In this area is the skiing on the ridge of hills know as Blue Mountain.

(click on photo to enlarge) (I hope you take some time to link to some of the many sites I mention)

View from the top of a ski run at Blue Mountain, overlooking Nottawasaga Bay. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you will just get a glimpse through the trees of the ski village resort at the base of the hills.

Lynne standing on the shore of Nottawasaga Bay on a windy day.

She love this shore and I had hoped to take a picture at the family cottage but my camera battery died at the wrong moment.

After two days around Blue Mountain we travelled west thought Meaford to Owen Sound, the small city in this area. Hwy 10, knows a Hurontario Street, runs from Port Credit, on Lake Ontario, (where Lynne and I grew up) to Owen Sound on Lake Huron, 135 miles. When we were young these two small communities where linked in this way. Owen Sound is still a small community but Port Credit has been gobbled up along with the rural farm area west of Toronto in what is now the city of Mississauga.

Leaving Owen Sound we headed for Wiarton at the base of the Bruce Peninsula. This is the small town central to the Southern Bruce Peninsula. The other significant community on the Bruce is Tobermory, 50 miles north at the tip of the Peninsula. Here we spend the night at the Princess Hotel, enjoying a lovely meal and viewing this unique harbour community.

The inner harbour of Tobermory.

The next morning we boarded the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to cross Lake Huron from southern Ontario to Northern Ontario

Here is a view from the ferry of the beautiful blue water of Lake Huron. Yes it really is that blue.

It was a calm day and a lovely crossing to South Bay Mouth on Manitoulin Island. It was a time long ago when I thought I would have liked to have moved to Manitoulin, this largest freshwater island in the World. I have been here a couple of times before but never for long.

Lynne and I took an indirect route across the island so we could see a couple of communities on the Island. We went to Providence Bay, Mindemoya, M'Chigeeng and Little Current. At this community we crossed onto the main land over the North Channel via the historic swing bridge.

One cannot cross here without thinking of the voyageurs. les coureurs de bois, who passed this way paddling the great fur trading route from Montreal to Thunder Bay.

This area on the mainland in the shadow of the ancient La Cloche Mountains , is a stretch of very rugged pre-Cambian Shield of rock and water. From here we passed thought Espanola, a paper mill town. I once brought a young american girl here so she could see the town her favourite hockey player, Alan Secord, grew up in. As it turned out she got to spend a couple of days with him as we rented a cabin from his parents. He was home for the summer and very generously shared some time with this young girl who was a hockey fan. (It is too long a story to recount here). It was this experience that made me think to myself, "Why should only 15 year old girls have their dreams fullfiled?" I had dreams, too. One of them was to own a farm. Within a few months I had purchased my place here on the Temagami River, leaving a suburban life behind.

From here we drove on to Sudbury, the city about an hour's drive west of where I live. It is a large city geographically, with 350 lakes within the city but modest in size, by population, as cities go. It is still a mining center but it has diversified into being a regional center in education, medicine, government services and tourism.

It would have been nice to have an extra day travelling so we could have spend more time viewing the sites, particularly on Manitoulin Island and in Sudbury. Unfortunately, travelling always takes more time than you plan.

This trip we took has many things to view and experience along the way, if you have the time and energy. Here are some of the things than interested me most.

Around Blue Mountain even in the summer there is much to do. On the mountain there is hiking and bicycling. There is also a suspension bridge and a tree top walk ,a zip line ride and the scenic caves.

In Meaford, there is a museum to Margaret Marshall Saunders who wrote "Beautiful Joe" a book I read as a child and in fact my mother read as a child. It was a great Canadian child's story long before Anne of Green Gables. In Meaford, there is a park and statue in honour of Beautiful Joe.

In Owen Sound, there is a museum and memorial to Billy Bishop, a great flying ace in the RCAF during WWII.

Throughout this region there is the northern half of the Bruce Trail, a hiking trail from Niagara Falls to Tobermory roughly following the Niagara escarpment. There are lots of opportunities to hike portions of the trail , and side trails in this area. Here is the map.

Wiarton is the home of Wiarton Willie, the albino ground hog who is celebrated on Ground Hog Day.

Tobermory besides being the southern port of the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry is also a wonderful scenic area above and below the waterline. It is the diving capital of Canada with a diving park so scuba divers can dive on old ship wrecks off this rugged coastline. There is large National Park in the area and some dramatic scenic caves.

Manitoulin Island has more than I can mention of things to do. What makes it most interesting to me is the number of First Nation's communities. 40 percent of the people who live on the island belong to First Nations. Their rich culture is alive and celebrated on the island. These Anishinabi people are made up of Ojibwe, Adawa and Potawatomi, the Three Fires Confederacy. At one time the Iroquois drove the tribes off the Island so they might control the fur trade route . For about 150 years no one lived on the island. After the war of 1812 between Britain (Canada) and the United States, the people of the three fire confederacy came to populate the island again, returning as the US government took their lands in the United States and Canada encouraged native settlement on the island

In Sudbury, one could spend several days, enjoying the environment, the cultural opportunities such as its fine Science Centre.

I look forward to returning to some of these regions and communities again to enjoy a more leisurely visit with what they have to offer.

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At 3:50 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The last and only time (so far) that I was on the Big Boat (Big Canoe?) I bumped my head something fierce on a low doorway out to the deck. Ouch.

At 6:39 p.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

My wife and I grew up in Montreal, Philip. But your trip reminded me of how lucky we feel to live along the shores of The Great Lakes.

That beautiful fresh water occasionally reminds me of life along the Atlantic coast.

Sometimes we forget how blessed we are.

At 6:42 p.m., Blogger Peggy said...

What a wonderful trip you had! Such beautiful places and I was just dreaming of what they would look like in winter covered in snow. Bet Heidi is having a awesome vacation too.

At 9:52 p.m., Blogger John and Carol said...

What beautiful country you were in! We saw Georgian Bay when we traveled in part of Ontario. Sorry we didn't explore further.

At 9:46 a.m., Blogger Gattina said...

Apparently you had a real nice and interesting trip ! I have seen the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, that was the only time I have been in Canada, lol !


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