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Archive for the ‘Eastern Canada 2019’ Category

Exploring Aurora: Past, Present and Future

We spent the day out and about with Ian and Sue as our tour guides… definitely the best tour of my life! Thank you so very much, Ian and Sue, for all of the following.

  • A hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with me slipping only the tiniest tid-bits to both Winston, the dog, and Black Jackie, the cat.
  • Visit to the McMichael Gallery in nearby Kleinburg to see the amazing Group of Seven collection along with many other well known Canadian artists (some of our favs and some new). A small gallery in comparrison to others but none the less incredible and so diverse in artistic representation. I’ve only included a few pics in the days photos and mostly of the beautiful property and some people shots, but if you are interested, click to see all the pics of The McMichael Gallery
  • Back to Ian and Sue’s for a yummy lunch of cold meat sandwiches and a cold glass of sangria 😄
  • Off again to visit one of the region’s managed woodlots and tour the “Living” conference and educational workshop building located there (a green “Leeds Certified” building and the only one in North America to achieve the “living” status). Ian’s title is the Manager of Natural Heritage and Forestry Environmental Promotion and Protection for the Regional Municipality of York, and he takes great pride in his legacy of reforestation and green space development. Ian told us the story of the devestation of the land here in the 1800s due to deforestation and the government’s current efforts and successes in returning it to its natural state. We strolled nearly 3 kms of the many well-maintained public trails looking for birds (saw and heard lots) and enjoy the trilliums (thousands of them, red and white).
  • Back to their house again to relax on the patio before preparing a scrumptious home-cooked dinner of chicken fettuccine alfredo. It was a wonderful evening of food and laughs and sharing memories over the old photo albums of our time together in Black’s Harbour, 30 years ago! What a happy emotional moment and the cresendo finish to our road-trip!
  • Tomorrow we will head East, following the Great Lake waters down the St. Lawrence toward the Atlantic and then down the Saint John toward home.

Here are the photo highlights of Exploring Aurora

Toronto to Aurora – a special day indeed

This day is definitely a highlight for me on this trip.

  • Mon and I were up and on the Go Train at 9 am to downtown Toronto. At Union Station, I had arranged to meet up with an old university chum, Sheila Sky. We hadn’t seen each other for 40 years! It was wonderful to see her and catch up on our lives. Alas, the time went so quickly and we had to leave but I will have the photo of us forever.
  • Back on the Go Train to Mississauga, into our car, and drove 15 minutes to Oakville on the shore of Lake Ontario. Here is located Appleby College. Marg’s grandson, Jack, attends this school and was participating on this day in a world expo school project. Mon and I met up with Marg and her daughter, Sandra, and headed to the gymnasium to enjoy all the students’ projects. Jack presented Singapore and really knew his facts.
  • Also on this campus, is the John Bell Chapel with several lovely stained glass windows, particularly the Kenojuak Ashevak window with the owl and arctic char. Stunning!
  • Mon and I said final goodbyes to Marg and Sandra and headed north to Aurora, stopping for quick bite at Chucks Roadhouse Grill.
  • We arrived in Aurora at 3 pm and found our destination. Ian and Sue Buchanan were our friends in Black’s Harbour back in the late 80’s. Ian and I worked together at Heritage Salmon and the four of us bonded, all of us being “from out of town”. Moving on, as people do, we lost touch for many years. It was incredible to see them again and catch up on lives. We would be their guests for two nights.

Here are to photo highlights of Toronto to Aurora – a special day indeed

Toronto – 7 churches and the AGO

Monica’s navigation skills are superb. She took us into East-end Toronto amid bumper to bumper lunch time traffic on the 401 and the Don Valley Parkway. It baffled me how the traffic continuously went from 130 km/hr to zero and then back up again. Here is the chronological list of events over the next two days:

  • We stopped for a moment in the Don Mills neighborhood to visit St. Brigid’s church. Lucky to get in as carpenters were working there getting ready for the church’s 100th anniversary. Guido Nincheri windows!
  • Through downtown Toronto white-knuckled on the Gardiner Expressway (!!!)
  • Stop in Port Credit for a quick bite. Cute town with lots of shops and restaurants.
  • Arrived at Monica’s sister’s house mid-afternoon. Marg and Gary welcomed us and we enjoyed a warm sunny afternoon on the back patio.
  • Marg and Gary’s entire family came to dinner (her two children with their spouses and children plus the family dog). Thirteen in total, we had a delicious home-cooked ham dinner. So great to see everyone and very appreciative they would all take the time to come and see us.
  • The next morning, Mon and I hopped the Go Train to downtown Toronto. The day’s agenda was packed as follows:
  • St. James Cathedral – gothic, dark, tall narrow windows.  Interesting note: this was my 200th church that I have officially documented the stained glass! That was a happy mile stone for me 😁
  • Metropolitan United Cathedral- neo-gothic, less ornate, we had it all to ourselves. The east window was not illuminated on this day. The church is looking like it needs some sprucing up.
  • St. Michael’s Basilica- dark, wonderful stained glass, blue/red rose window.
  • Church of the Holy Trinity – nestled in a courtyard amid towering skyscrapers, small and simple, very old, lucky to get in as they were just about to start a music concert. Folks were seating as I quickly snapped my pics.
  • Lunch at The Village Idiot Pub (Village Idiot salad with tuna and anchovies)
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral- stunning windows, lots of tourists there just like me.
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario where we spent two hours admiring the collections: Inuit sculpture and Group of Seven paintings (Lawren Harris is my fav) were the highlights for me. Great views of downtown and the CN Tower from the 5th floor.
  • St. Andrews Presbyterian – had it all to ourselves, lovely windows and wrap-around second level pews.
  • Back to Marg’s house to relax, share stories of the day and blog.

Here are the photo highlights of Toronto – 7 churches and the AGO

Kingston and Prince Edward County

We left Arnprior very well fed around 9:30 am. Doug and Nancy deserve 5 stars for their hospitality and culinary prowess. It was nice to see them again and we were grateful for such a laid-back and refreshing stop over on this road trip.

  • We headed south toward Kingston on the shore of Lake Ontario, stopping along the way to snap a pic of Five Arches Bridge.
  • Into Kingston around noon. First stop at St. Mary’s Cathedral to marvel at the wonderful illumination in this church. Very gothic in design with huge double high windows on each side of the nave. There are more than 100 individual panels telling the entire story of Christianity.
  • Attached to the cathedral is St. James Chapel with its own stunning windows including a rose! It is truly an artistic heritage in Canada. For all photos, see Gallery/World Windows/Kingston, Ont – St. Mary’s
  • We checked in early at the Confederation Place Hotel and then enjoyed 2 hours of street strolling. The sun shone brightly and lots of pedestrians were out enjoying it.
  • A late lunch was at Montes. Irish cuisine curbside under an umbrella. Great fun people watching. Great lamb burger!
  • We strolled along the water front to settle lunch and enjoy the many historic landmarks and monuments. Kingston goes back to the Loyalists and is famous for too many things to write here, not to mention its beautiful waterfront promenade.
  • The next day we headed West along the shore of Lake Ontario to visit some wineries in Pince Edward County. We stopped at a couple of our old favorites (Sandbanks and Clossen Chase) and discovered a couple of new ones (Black Prince and Broken Stone). Wonderful memories of this place.
  • In the afternoon, we arrived in Bowmanville at our friend’s house. We’ve known Peter Lappalanein for sbout 30 years. He is a master on the BBQ and we enjoyed a fantastic home cooked meal of steak and potatos. It was good to see him again and his 15 year old cats, Paris and Peaches.

Here are the photo highlights of Kingston and Prince Edward County

The National Gallery of Canada

The day dawned with sunshine 😀

  • We checked out of our hotel, got in the car and headed to the Byward Market before 9am. There, we parked the car for the next four hours and set out on foot. Since the art gallery does not open until 10am, we had a calculated hour to fill in.
  • First visit was to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica to see the stained glass by Guido Nincheri. We’ve seen alot of his work on this trip and are starting to see some repeat patterns but always something new as well. This church is exquisite with its starry-sky blue ceiling.
  • We strolled through Byward Market as the flower venders were just setting up their tables. The sunshine had everyone smiling.
  • We strolled through Major’s Hill Park for some postcard shots of Parlament Hill and to enjoy the tulips. They were smiling also with the sunshine.
  • Finally we spent 3 hours in the National Art Gallery perusing the collections, seeing work by many of our favorite artists and discovering some new ones. Fascinating! I took many photos for studying later.
  • By 1pm we were driving away from Ottawa toward Arnprior on the shores of the Ottawa River. There has been devastating flooding here this spring and the water is still disturbingly high.
  • We arrived at our friends, Doug and Nancy York, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon chatting and enjoying the many bird species coming to their feeders. The Baltimore Orioles put on the brightest show with close competition from the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks.
  • Doug and Nancy prepared a savory meal of barbequed filet mingnon, baked potatoes and asperagus followed by limoncello mousse. We were totally spoiled and very appreciative for a home-cooked meal!
  • Bedtime was with the windows open. No big city sounds, just the wood frogs peeping. I love that!

Here are the day’s photos: The National Gallery of Canada

The Canadian War Museum

Todays agenda simply had two items:

First, The Canadian War Museum.

  • Monica and I were up early to do laundry and enjoy the sauna and pool at our hotel.
  • We walked the 2 kms along Sparks Street, pausing to enjoy the street sculptures and a light snack at Bridgehead Cafe.
  • On arriving at the museum site, the first visit is to the National Holocaust Memorial where we fell silent for a few minutes.
  • Then we entered the War Museum along with several bus loads of school children. They were more or less well behaved throughout.
  • What an immaculate, complete and provocative museum. It took us three hours to see it. I left with my head bowed knowing my grandfather, Spurgeon Keith, survived the trenches after being shot and then silently carried the horror of it for the next 50 years of his life. I never heard him speak of it.

Second, dinner with an old friend (as in from 40 years ago)

  • Monica and I went to Mount Allison University with Donna Porter from River Hebert, Nova Scotia. She roomed right across the hall from Monica in the dormitory.
  • Mon and I walked 20 minutes to the Byward Market neighborhood across the Rideau Canal… snapping some Canon G16 moments along the way.
  • Donna and her husband, Bob, met us at Tucker’s Market, a popular and packed buffet restaurant with 20 different mains to choose from and just as many desserts!
  • It was wonderful catching up on each others’ lives. Donna looks just the same as 40 years ago! How is that possible?
  • The walk back to the hotel was illuminated with city lights and a full moon.

Here are the days photos: The Canadian War Museum

The Canadian Tulip Festival

The Tulip Festival was the original catalyst for this trip. Monica and I both love tulips but cannot have them at home beacuse of marauding neighborhood deer. The Tulip Festival in Ottawa is such a historic and favorite Canadian celebration. In 1940 (WWII), Canada welcomed Queen Wihelmina of the Netherlands and her royal family who fled Europe and sought refruge here. The queen’s daughter, Princess Juliana, gave birth to her third child in Ottawa. When she returned home after the war, Princess Juliana sent a gift of a hundred thousand tulip bulbs to Canada as thanks for the hospitality. Ever since 1953, the city plants 1 million bulbs which, in the spring, draw tourists from far and wide to see the spectacle.

  • The forcast called for sun, we got clouds, at least it didn’t rain and the sun did peek out once or twice.
  • We did a 14 km walk today in a big circle around the city to find and photograph tulips.
  • Parliament Hill had a few nice red ones but it has been such a cold and wet spring that many of the tulips are still in bud. I was so desperate to see them!
  • We stopped into St. Andrews Presbyterian to see the windows. This is the church where Princess Juliana’s baby was christened.
  • We also stopped into Christ Church Cathedral. Modern gothic in design, the Memorial West Window is astounding!
  • We walked Sommerset Street and entered the gate to Chinatown. The sidewalk has painted inlays of the chinese zodiac.
  • We walked along vibrant Preston Street into Little Italy and found a quaint coffee shop for a short rest.
  • We visited St. Anthony’s Church on Gladstone Avenue to marvel at the frescoes and stained glass by Guido Nincheri. All beauiful, of course, but the window of St. Patrick is especially alluring as it depicts Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland.
  • We arrived at Commissioner’s Park on the shore of Dow’s Lake for the largest concentration of tulips… over 500,000 located here. Some of the flower beds were in full bloom while others were still thinking about it. Over all, it was truly something to see!
  • Lunch from a Thai food truck did the trick. We people-watched as we ate on a park bench looking out at the lake.
  • We walked back to the hotel (14km total) and kicked back for an afternoon repose.
  • Dinner was right around the corner at one of Ottawa’s top Japanese restaurants, Genji. What a great meal and so totally different from other sushi we have had at home… topped off perfectly with the tempura banana.

Here are the day’s photos: The Canadian Tulip Festival