Some of my ramblings around Ontario

This post is dedicated to Ontario....where the federal government hangs out in Ottawa, Toronto (or Tronno as the locals seem to call it) dominates and of course, the thundering Niagara Falls does its thing.

My very first trip as an adult was to Ontario (as well as Montreal to visit my cousin) to visit my mom's best friend in Ottawa and my very first solo endeavour..a trip to Toronto.  This was early in 1973 and I booked myself way out of the main downtown in a hotel I'd seen in a brochure out west on Dundas. What can I say I was clueless for that first trip. As far as I recall the hotel was okay and it was pretty cool to take the clickety clackety street car into downtown Toronto. For future journeys in the 70's  I stayed at the Y in Rosedale and I've stayed in bed and breakfasts as well as at my nieces place.  Yes, Toronto and I go way back...I like the city and always have. Just maybe not in the humidity of summer....

However, Ontario is so much more than Toronto...

So let's go on a crazy journey around this province which has a population of nearly 14 million - nearly 40% of Canada's population.   It's probably the one province that people unfamiliar with Canada can identify...I'm sure all Canadians traveling abroad have run into the "I have a cousin in Toronto"statement.

While I haven't traveled in Ontario as much as I would like to I have seen a fair bit of it.  So let's start!

In 2009 our annual walking convention was held in North Bay, a city of around 52,000 in NE Ontario in late May.  I fell in love with the area and of course, the walking was fabulous.

I loved huge Lake Nipissing.


Me with a "voyageur" on the banks of Lake Nipissing


Lake Nipissing



After the convention, I opted for an optional overnight stay in a cabin in the woods near Mattawa ("meeting of the waters" in Algonquin language).  The photo below was taken on a walk in the area.




Mattawa is known for its wood carvings and while these were taken at our resort the town had carvings all along its streets.


I am so happy I got to visit this beautiful area - someplace I never would have seen in a million years if it wasn't for my walking club.

Ottawa is the nation's capital with a population of close to a million - more if you include the outlying areas.  I have always loved Ottawa.  As I mentioned earlier I first visited in 1973 and I will spare you my Instamatic pictures. I am lucky enough to now have friends to stay with (as an added bonus they have dogs!) now but have stayed in such varied accommodations as a university residence. bed and breakfasts and a hostel that was once a jail!!  Once I am back into good walking shape I will be booking myself a trip to Ottawa -(just warning you Donna and Dorri!) to me it is a city made for walking.

I've been lucky enough to be there for the annual Tulip festival three times now.  Every year the Netherlands sends thousands of tulip bulbs - this is the reason. (I'm lazy...)





The city is beautiful.


The tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the Chateau Laurier hotel in the background.

Below is the beautiful Houses of Parliament with my butt parked on the Centennial Flame.  This was installed on January 1st 1967 and displays twelve crests of the provinces and territories with the exception of Nunavut which was created in 1999. (it was formerly part of the North West Territories)


You can't go to Ottawa without going to the wonderful Byward Market which is full of wonderful bakeries, restaurants, shops and this place....


These wonderful pieces of fried dough deliciousness are available at different locations across the country but this place was the first permanent stand.


Belonging to a walking club and having a local friend ensures I get beyond the touristy stuff and do things take a walk along this quiet pathway outside of the tourist zone.


While I'm a prairie girl, my roots here don't run too deep.  All of my grandparents were born and raised outside of the area - my mother's parents in England and my father's parents in Ontario. I grew up hearing about Brucefield from my dad...my dad's father's family moved there from Scotland in 1815.  In fact, my great uncle Donald was the first white baby born in Tuckersmith Township!  I really got interested in Genealogy in the early 90's and in 1998 I finally got to the famous Brucefield I had been hearing about all my life.  I am so glad I did this trip as I was able to share my experiences and photographs with my dad before he passed away two years later.  It was a surprisingly emotional trip for me and I am so glad I did it.  While in the area I did a side trip as well.  I rented a car and based myself at a bed and breakfast in Goderich and took day trips out to cemeteries and libraries to do more research.


My great great and great grandparents graves.


What was once the homestead of my family.  Nowadays I would have attempted a selfie but not back then.  I enjoyed my time in Goderich on Lake Huron and would love to go back one day.  After days of research, I decided to take a break so drove up to Tobermory, a village on the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron.  I found a cute bed and breakfast and fell in love with the area.   I took a boat tour to see the shipwrecks and Flower Pot Island.






I enjoyed my short time there so much.  

Of course there is Niagara Falls....here is the token picture. 



After being soaked on the Maid of the Mist.  Oh the days of carrying a camcorder AND a camera (or 2) and loads of film...

Now I'm getting to know the city of Hamilton which is between Toronto and Niagara Falls.  My sister lives there so I visit at least once a year.


I love this street art/advertisement.


My sister and I took a boat trip around the harbour on Lake Ontario which was so interesting.






The above photos were taken in Immigration Square - a fitting picture to feature being as that is what Canada is all about.

My sister lives near downtown which I love.  You can keep your suburbs - to me they are all the same.  Downtown is the heart and soul of the city in my opinion. I love seeing the historical buildings and visiting interesting independent shops and cafes.  On my next visit I hope to see more of the downtown but also rent a car for a day so we can explore Hamilton's many waterfalls and parks.

In 2008 I visited Thunder Bay for a family member's wedding.  I didn't see much of Thunder Bay itself except the bus depot (yes I took the bus there...and back...).  The wedding was held at beautiful Fort William Historical Park.  The morning of the wedding we took a tour.  A fort is a fort is a fort...but the foliage was beautiful!!!


We went down to the lake front of Lake Superior where we saw the Sleeping Giant which is a symbol of the city and is featured on its coat of arms and city flag.

Does that look like a giant to you? 
Last but certainly not least is Toronto.  As I mentioned earlier I quite like Toronto.  A lot of western Canadians scoff at "Tronno" or Hogtown as it is known as but I have always enjoyed my visits there.

Of course, you can't go anywhere in the city without seeing the CN Tower looming overhead.


One of my favourite places in Toronto is High  Park in the west end.







You would never guess from the pictures above that you were in a city of over two and a half million.

I finally got to the quirky Bata shoe museum on one of my last visits and it was well worth it.  You name it' they've got it!!!








They have some great street art as well!

Probably after High Park my favourite part of Toronto is the Beaches in the east end.  Lots of cool shops and cafes - and of course a beach or two... including this doggie one...




I once stayed in a bed and breakfast in this area and loved it.  I do have many more pre-digital photos of the Beaches but they are buried deep in the photos albums in my storage room.  Once upon a time I used to be able to pick out a trip or family event by the album but that was when it was a controllable 75 or so and I probably had more gray matter as well...

And of course Toronto has its own "castle" - Casa Loma built between 1911 and 1914 for Sir Henry P
Mill Pellat.


I love markets and St Lawrence Market is a good one to visit.



Last but not least the iconic City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square.  Back in the day (the 70's...) I used to arrange an extra long layover in Toronto on my way to England so that I could take the airport bus and mosey around downtown Toronto - and I always headed to City Hall.


So much to see in Toronto including a world class zoo, theatres, loads of shopping and restaurants..but just remember...there is more to Canada than just Toronto!




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