I had the pleasure of going to an outdoor winter wonderland with my Ontario family. A time to let the worries of the day, let work and school blues be dropped for an hour, don warm winter garb and be treated to a light show for all enjoy.
The original Fort Henry was built in 1812, for fear of an attack close to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, an important shipping and trade route, when the British were fighting against the Americans. Canada was, and remains, a member of the Commonwealth. Today it has absolutely no connection to the military in Canada besides being across the street from a base. It is now a museum and historic site. Over the winter the Fort and most of the facilities that are open for tourists are usually closed. Of course, this means I have never been inside the grounds.
My travelling companions joined us.
Lumina Borealis opened the gates to a quiet, mystical wonderland that welcomed all who entered; from the swirling mists and illuminated walls depicting various scenes, to the soft, inviting music from beyond, it was an ethereal, magical hour. Upon entering we were encouraged to slow down, stay awhile, follow the blue movement and changes on the walls of the Fort before wending our way around a bend where we came upon lit iceberg sculptures. A short piece of poetry was illuminated on the wall, stopping walkers in their slow tracks. Arches of the Fort in this area echoed pleasantly with throat singing mingled with softer sounds. As we reluctantly left the soft light and crags of the stylized bergs we rounded another bend.
It was a little like entering Narnia. A forest of low pine trees that held lights in their branches, then lit up all around us. On the stone walls depictions of animals slowly came to view. The curve of a head, twitch of nose, the stealth of foot, wings spread, silent howl. An owl, rabbit, a fox, the wolf, and other friends of the forest were there, then faded away. Like a memory from long ago. Of course I knew it was all done with lights. It did not matter, for a short time we were outdoors, enjoying life.
Fire pits served three purposes, warmth, light and more creatures. The light show this time was interactive. We could walk across the path where soft blue hues dominated, heading towards s main fire pit where ‘our’ animal would present itself. I was a wolf. When several people were there, we were a party of six, a wonderful display of pale blues, purples, reds, oranges and whites mingled towards a fabulous explosion of muted colour. The shades of winter. All with music that was just there, as though not being present would diminish the sensation.
There was more, and it was wonderful to see Fort Henry being put to positive use for all. Similar winter shows are happening in Quebec, Nova Lumina, Chandler; Forest Lumina, Coaticook, QC; Anima Lumina, St – Felicien, QC. I encourage anyone living nearby to attend. It is an hour of enchantment – and we all need that. I hope a similar show is offered for the 150th birthday of Canada in December.
I also had the pleasure of visiting a relatively new bakery, tucked away in a small plaza. We nearly missed it. Of course I had to go in, it is called Grama’s House. We bought a couple of apple tarts and one butter tart. The Apple tart was yummy! Not too sweet, the apple still a teeny crisp, flaky pastry, and a small bite. Perfect for a little snack without feeling dreadfully sinful.
Winter can be quite beautiful.