Friday Two Cents: Summer Vacation Part 4: Up North



Last week I was not able to post a Friday Two Cents because I was north of Toronto at a friend’s trailer enjoying what Ontario has to offer. I love going up north and spending time in nature and being at my friend’s trailer is a good compromise from camping. I say this because I do enjoy camping with a tent and cooking outdoors but it is hard to find people who enjoy sleeping on the ground and of course the bugs. This also has the advantage of all the comforts of civilization like running water, flush toilets and electricity.   I do like roughing it but I like my creature comforts too.

The region is about 1 – 2 hours drive north of Toronto in the great community of Midland and Penetanguishene.   My friend’s trailer is situated in the outskirts of Penetanguishene with wonderful scenes of nature and beaches within driving distance, which we partook.
Besides all of the natural beauty there are other interesting places about the area. My friends took me to see the Big Chute Marine Railway. It is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, which stretches over 386km through central Ontario. It is a series of locks and canals with beautiful views of a not often seen part of Ontario.
Big Chute Marine Railway is the 44th lock in the 45 lock system. Yet unlike the other locks it is a rail system that lifts the vessels out of the water and places them in the other body of water. It works on an inclined plane to carry boats in individual cradles over a change of height of about 58 feet (18 m). It is the only marine railway of its kind in North America. You can see it work in the photos I took.
It was an amazing thing to see and we spent a good couple of hours watching them lift boats from one body of water to the other. I noticed that it worked very similarly like a cable car. There were a series of cables that would pull the railcar and then control its decent. It was a very interesting and unique experience in the heart of Ontario.
Another day trip we took was to the Blue Mountain Village near Collingwood. I remember going to the Blue Mountain area when I was in high school and later yet I haven’t been to it in some time. To say that it changed would be putting it mildly. It was a spectacular experience with all the shopping, restaurants and adventure experiences. I even took a ride on the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster. It’s a roller coaster that starts at the bottom of the mountain (hill) and then it takes you up in individual cars that you can control the speed. I for one do not like coasters anymore, I use to like coasters and I would ride them whenever I can. However in resent years the height makes me dizzy and my natural instinct kicks in.
Yet never let it be said that I will not try a new experience, even though I was not sure about the ride I did it anyway. Mind you, you can control the speed of your car going down. I did slow down a because of the height. I did not want to black out or lose control. And after I did it I did have fun doing it. I will probably not do that again but it was a fun experience.
The other days where full of fun and trips into Penetanguishene and Midland. In Penetanguishene we saw the Urban Slide, a giant water slide that people can ride down 1000 ft. in the middle of Main Street. Then in Midland we went and saw a cruise ship in the harbour. This was new to everyone because we never knew there were cruise ships running in the Great Lakes. This was not a one of those large cruise ships, it only carries 210 passengers but it is one of 12+ voyages that are making a regular stop in Midland. Amazing, this will be great for the local economy and help spread the word about how great this region is.
The entire trip was for only a few days yet it was enough to help recharge my batteries and make me re-appreciate the magnificent country I live in.

Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 5: Trailer Camping



Well this past week I could not post on Friday because I was up at a friend’s trailer enjoying nature with the comforts of civilization. I say this because I for one love camping with a tent and cooking over an open fire. But there are times when I do enjoy the conveniences of modern living. Running water and flush toilets to mention only a couple. This was emphasized with one point of the trip while I was in, what is known around here as cottage country.

The region is about 1 – 2 hours drive north of Toronto in the great community of Midland and Penetanguishene.   My friend’s trailer is situated in the outskirts Penetanguishene with wonderful scenes of nature and beaches within driving distance, which we partook.

Besides the beaches and natural beauty, the community has a wonderful and rich history. One such venue was our trip and exploration of Discovery Habour. This historical site was a naval base built to help safe guard Upper Canada (Ontario as it was known then) after the war of 1812. It has many buildings and is rich in historical features that it took us a day to see them all. The site being a naval base has full-scale replica sailing ships, the H.M.S Bee (a Gaff Topsail Schooner) and the H.M.S. Tecumseth warship, plus others. They also have buildings with period specific items that bring out the history. Yet the showstopper is a new building, The H.M.S. Tecumseth Centre. Here they have artifacts and the original hull of the H.M.S. Tecumseth pulled from the Penetanguishene Bay in 1953. This climate controlled building gives you a wonderful look into a piece of Canadian Naval history.

As well, the trip was enhanced with the communities’ celebration of the Rendez-Vous Champlain Festival – a celebration of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain on the shores of Georgian Bay in 1615. 400 years ago Samuel De Champlain arrived on the shores of the Georgian Bay area and began a series of events that would see French settlers arrive and leave their mark on the area. A few facts about the Penetanguishene region and the French connection:

  • Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons, founded in 1639, was the first French-European settlement in North America, thanks to the guidance and generosity of First Nations.
  • The Huron-Wendat First Nation inhabited the area between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay long before Europeans, building thriving commercial and agricultural communities.
  • Nearly 612,000 Francophones call Ontario home. This is the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of the province of Quebec.


They had a parade and events for the three-day event and it was wonderful to see and experience.

The experience then topped off with a clear night so we can view the Blue Moon.  A blue Moon happens with the second full moon of the month.  This only happens every few years.  The full trip was wonderful and upon reflection a great segue to the upcoming events that I, and George, plan on experiencing for the rest of the summer. Stay tuned, the summer many be half over but adventure is always just around the corner.  

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