Ontario Visit: Upper Canada Village

Before and after my two days in Ottawa I managed to fit in some quality time with my grandson, go to a couple of movies, listen to live music, and get more quality time with my grandson! All during the continuing heat wave. I did so much that I have to break things down to smaller bites.

The drive from Battersea (outside of Kingston) to Upper Canada Village takes roughly 1 1/2 hours which means any visiting should seriously consider putting in a full day while there. It takes about the same amount of time if driving from Ottawa. Fortunately there are many activities and lots to see to keep anyone from feeling bored. With relatively flat and easy roads, and no gas vehicles, this a great place for all ages to discover how people lived in the 1860s. Although many of the buildings do have narrow doorways and upper floors I suggest that should not dissuade anyone from visiting.


Although the majority of the buildings are not original to the site they all date from around the 1860’s, and were moved in 1957 from various locations during the St. Lawrence Seaway development project, prior to the founding of the village in 1961. Considering my love for old architecture I did not drag my grandson along on any extra excursions: river barge pulled by horses, wagon ride, miniature train, dressing up although I was tempted! We did watch a funny performance that included a 7 1/2 hour Italian opera performed in five minutes. The lead up to that was a small riot of hilarity. A pleasant surprise to discover the performers rally could sing!

Much as I wanted to let them my pandas were not allowed on the plot of the locomotive.

Whimsical painted glass in Chrysler Hall, probably the grandest home. The artist must have had free rein while also indulging his patron’s passions – dogs and horses.

I most certainly did not trust those shifty eyes! This was outside the Physician’s House, where my grandson caught the roving eye of the guide and vice versa! I laughed at that, told his mother later and asked if he was going to tell his girlfriend.

A ‘private’ yard where wool would be cleaned outdoors in boiling water. Look at all that fleece!
Although I do not knit, or crochet, nor have I made anything out of wool textiles for decades, I was rather fascinated with the ‘modern’ workings of the textile mill.
Would all the fly away bits be up for grabs?

The birds love all the bits of wool that escape.

In addition to the wool being processed there was a flour mill that provides whole-wheat & white flours for the bakery that we also visited. White loaves are baked and sold in the mornings & whole-wheat in the afternoons at the souvenir shop. I bought a hefty loaf of whole-wheat – one slice is enough for a meal! Reasonably priced too when compared to large bakeries in the city.

A fun 30+ minutes of an old fashioned family show. They even had the ever ready ‘cure all’ tonic many travelling shows would push to spectators.
A summer kitchen, my main focus was on the beehive oven to the right where all the baking was done.

Well weathered outer log of a log house. I was astounded that anything so delicate with age could be moved fairly intact!

The cheese factory was done for the day. I believe the product is available in much smaller packaging. No samples.

‘The Queen’ quite the collection piece! This fire engine is housed in one of the only purpose built structures to protect it from the elements.

While many of the activities are included in the entry fee it is best to check. The miniature train was cheaper if paid when purchasing the entrance ticket than at the tiny station. Very popular with children. I was aware this not going to be shoestring budget friendly day. When I discovered the entry fee included a visit on some future date before Labour Day to Fort Henry in Kingston I felt I had hit the jackpot!

The only negative was choosing to eat at the Harvest Barn rather than waiting for ‘afternoon tea’ at Willard’s Hotel. My grandson was satisfied with his panini, everything assembled and cooked while he waited; whereas my grilled chicken sandwich was a dry piece of chicken breast, heated up then slapped onto a dry, white hamburger bun with a piece of lettuce. I did find some mustard and managed to eat the chicken and half the bun. Not cheap either! There are enough places to choose from or take a picnic to sit on one of the many lawns. As always when visiting Ontario in the summer take along lots of water, or at least an empty vessel, hat, sunscreen and bug spray if planning to be up in the evening.

Expenses: coffee & house made potato chips $5.10 (I was trying to entice my grandson to eat something); lunch $21.36; Upper Canada Village entry $42.00 (I am still not old enough for the senior rate and my grandson did not have his military family discount card); loaf of bread $5.95

Ontario Visit: Ottawa (2019)

I was extremely fortunate to be treated to two wonderful days and nights in Ottawa by my daughter, and in a way my SIL. He worked, we played. I had only been to our capital city in the dead of winter – twice! If possible visit after all the ice has melted even if it means in the heat of summer. Choosing to only walk while there we barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do – much of which is free!

We ate out a lot! How could we resist The Cupcake Lounge with two trips through Byward Market? No photos so no guilt! I actually enjoyed the market more when I was there one winter. Go figure. Great restraint, half a cupcake after dinner, then half a one for breakfast. A boat cruise took us across to Hull, and gave a water view as we cruised past 24 Sussex Drive, a few embassies, the Rideau Falls, and so much more.

We took a tour of West Block, the only way to visit is to book a tour online. Well worth it, free, despite the very heavy security. Wherever we were water, sunscreen, a hat and places with AC were a necessity. We also put in a lot of stairs and walking. I would do it all again.

Expenses: what can I say here? I paid for so little. Two days in Ottawa for two people, staying within a stone’s throw of Parliament, could easily run into $600 – $1000. We had free accommodation, walked everywhere, took in free activities or my daughter paid. I hope I can return the generosity if she ever makes it back to the west coast.

It was difficult to fit in a shot of the name, me & the pandas! You know, proof & posterity.

Bytown Museum. Ottawa’s oldest stone building.

A great museum with a permanent collection plus temporary exhibits makes this a must see for visitors and locals, all for the incredible sum of $2.00 each. Can’t find a coffee for that!

Kinki Kitchen Lounge. Somehow we managed to share our light lunch!

Patty Boland’s – a bit on the seedy side with surprisingly good food! (I had the chicken tacos) Atop the bar is the best place to belt out a song and grab a quick drink.

The cynic in me turned around to get a shot of Cartier with his back turned to all. At least he is standing on the same side of the fence as all we commoners!

The Library of Parliament has also had to be rehoused – quite close to where we stayed. Sadly only accessible to Parliamentary staff.
I did not find out if the Peace Tower will also undergo renovations. The bell still tolls on the hour, and it seemed the half and quarter hour although we did not pay that much attention to the time. (Clock Tower with the Canadian flag)
Peace man! A little time to play before dealing with the ropes.
Rather like a cork popping up! Look through the for front boat to see the man in red to show how much the canal rose!

All lit up just before the stunning, and dare I say, made me proud to be Canadian.

Northern Lights is showing every night until September 8, 2019. A sound and light show depicting the history of Canada in a breathtaking show. Times depend on the month. We stood right at the ropes on the edge of the grass at the back, a great way to prevent anyone from standing immediately in front of us. Or take a picnic supper and sit on the grass. Did I mention it’s also free?

The temporary Commons was built in the courtyard of the West Block.

Sorry for the poor quality; I want d to show the steel posts that are holding up the temporary Commons roof. The seats for the MPs were moved from Centre Block except for the Speaker’s seat. (Not in photo)
Many Canadians have family who served during war and peacekeeping; many still do and many serve. Let us never forget the commitment.
Let’s never forget that women were also there. Just as they are now.
We were walking along the Promenade where we came upon an elderly woman who had just fallen and most likely dislocated her elbow. My daughter, always a nurse, stayed with her (family was also there) until the paramedics arrived. I thought this display was apt.
The locks from below.

Ontario Visit: from Drag Race to Lakeside

The last two weeks were a mix of big city crazy to sublime quiet. The only factor that did not change was the heat and humidity. Thank goodness for AC in the house and the truck! Even when there thunderstorms it was still hot and humid with the added drenching.

My daughters treated me to a show of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Roadshow. I am unsure if that is the actual title although it makes sense if it is. My eldest drove us to Toronto, we met up with my other daughter, had lunch at the New York Cafe, (I had the single serving of French Toast – what a great idea to offer that choice) across from the Danforth Music Hall where we would see the show, and had enough time to wander around Danforth a bit. The show was great, all the audience gave a big round of applause for the Canadian favourite, Brooklyn Hytes – I do wish I could have shown him dancing en pointe!

Very unassuming theatre. Pretty sure it is not where the stars perform. The queue started early – no seats on the main floor.
Unfortunately it was so dark that none of our photos did justice to the performers. If anyone has a chance to see a show do so! Even if in a grungy theatre.

We saw my younger daughter off at the GO Station before heading back to Kingston. Halfway there we stopped for dinner in Point Hope, a lovely little town with some great old buildings. Dinner was at Turtle Jack’s because we loved the name. I never did discover why it is called that. Then a very quick walk to admire some of the architecture. I am crossing my fingers for a return trip. especially if there is a chance of getting some better photos!

Bank of Upper Canada erected in 1857. Now the Carlyle Bistro and possibly a boutique hotel. If I had seen this earlier we might have eaten there instead.

Port Hope Town Hall
The following day was a time to hide from the exhausting heat, read and literally watch the flowers pop out much like popcorn does. The morning had started with perhaps five fully opened heads to then be a burst of colour by the end of the day.
A summer school group headed out on Gould Lake.
A restful view at the lake after the hectic city – once all the canoes had passed by. Also where I discovered I really did need the bug spray I had bought!

More adventures to come it’s a trip to Ottawa, and probably Niagara Falls as well as more forays into Kingston if I can avoid the heat!

Expenses: (oops, forgot to put in the ones for when I was in Smiths Falls) Museum $5.00; lunch $11.25 (just me so quite extravagant); insect spray + sundries $12.22 (although my daughter bought more I think I will need my own); Starbucks account $20.00 (this was over a few days to cover what my daughter in Victoria had used – points & money); bottled water $4.00 (gasp, gasp); lunch in Toronto for two $19.00; groceries $7.30

Although it appears I have wantonly spent my limited funds this was over a period of roughly three weeks. I am still well within budget. Just as well considering I have some upcoming travel expenses.

Ontario Visit: Smiths Falls

That name is not a typographical error. It seems the town went through a number of spellings before officially taking on Smiths Falls. Although once the bustling home of Hershey’s kisses, Victor Record (they pressed the iconic first Beatles album), a ploughshares & munitions factory, and a Railway link to the rest of Canada, and the Rideau Canal, the town centre has lost much of its lustre over the years yet continues to attract boaters and tourists for its locks and beaches.

Sad to say the Hershey’s factory shut down in 2009. It sat empty for ten years before being resurrected as a marijuana plant that may also soon be offering edibles. Pot kisses anyone?

I walked along the lovely parkway that skirts the canals where there were some pretty snazzy looking boats. None of the locks were operating when I visited. I checked out the 4 storey Rideau Canal Museum, considering its size the exhibits are somewhat misleading. Then, thinking I might also have time stop at the beach I walked under the beating sun to the Heritage House Museum.

I cannot effectively encapsulate the delightful private tour I was given by the exceedingly knowledgeable Justin, a young university student who provided information through wit, fact and passion. I spent two hours listening, discovering, perusing, learning and even teaching, that I could have easily expanded to a longer visit. My donation of $5.00 was certainly well worth it!

To round off my day, after my daughter picked me up we went to Creekside Pub for dinner where there was live music. I was a little pink, tired, and happy. A sign of a great day!

Trinity United Church.

Being unfamiliar with Sunday services I did not enter any churches. This one certainly caught my eye.

My attempt to show the force of the water – the walkway is cordoned off with with a screen covered in ivy; ropes; cement blocks and signs.

Travel in much earlier days along the canal meant being ready for all occasions!

The bridge across is fixed, still rather scary.

The narrow gates terrify me. The hook is used to help push boats going astray and, I assume, for fishing out hapless fishermen.

View from the Rideau Canal Museum lookout. No fee to visit this Parks Canada Museum.

When I asked if one section opened it seemed unknown – look at what we discovered! This is a carpenter’s toolbox. I expect my guide might have known about it but it was fun to think otherwise.
The lid. The curators do not know who the initials are for. However, it is a piece from the same period of house.
Cast iron stove crafted in Smiths Falls. Note the train engine on the front.

How often can a visitor ask to see the bottom of an antique piece? I still have not figured out what it says. A teapot given to new staff by the 2nd family to own the home. There were a number of artifacts visitors are encouraged to inspect more closely – in the hands, or under the watchful eye, of the guide of course!

To round off the day, Creekside Pub, Sunday music on the patio with Jordy Jackson (he has an album Can’t Cruise Without Country)

Ontario Trip: Kingston in July

I seem to harp on about the intolerable heat on one forum and Facebook while neglecting to include some of the highlights of my days so far. I have been posting a couple of photographs on Instagram when I think they be interesting – big lean on the ‘I’ as I have little idea what might spark anyone to look. One hashtag I try to include is #brightspots, sort of a steal from the blogger of Today’s Perfect Moment (todaysperfectmoment.com), which are pictures I find uplifting. Sadly, it appears my attempts at finding interesting shots have been thwarted by the exceedingly high humidity and my still poor iPhone photography skills.

Case in point, I saved none of my fireworks shots. Kingston puts on a stellar show for Canada Day. I was certain that this year would not be as grand as the 150th celebration. I was happily wrong. Not only were we treated to a fabulous light display high in the air, there were smaller acts from areas around the city. This year we headed to the grassy hills of Fort Henry – as did everyone else who did not stay downtown! It was a wonderful vantage point. My only complaint was the bugs – particularly mosquitoes. Fortunately, the friends we were had a teeny bit of insect spray left that I put on my face and hands. I then wrapped a towel around my legs and wore a jacket. I seemed to have come out unscathed.

One of the local parade ‘floats’ on the country road where my daughter lives.

I also visited Gananoque with my daughter and son in-law the previous day for Ribfest, of which only a few hazy photos turned out. The town is lake country, under 6000 population, and probably swells two fold during the summer. I did not partake of any ribs, and for my daughter and her husband they had a giant deep fried onion plus three strips of candy bacon as their celebratory first anniversary lunch. (Shared with me) Also a beer tasting at a local brewery on the main drag. I tried barely a touch of stout to my tongue, my face told the tale – I do not drink, and if I did it would not be beer! We walked to the nearby Sculpture Park, Canada’s largest outdoor sculpture gallery, built on what was once a shovel factory.

Gears we think were used for the shovel company dam; now an interesting piece of industrial history.

Iron sunflower.

Summer in Kingston and the surrounding are is packed with activities. Upon the heel of Canada Day is the Buskers Rendezvous, in its 31st year, the second largest buskers event in the world! Yes, the heat can be a problem, more so for the entertainers as the audience can stand in the shade on Princess Street during the daytime shows where sections are cordoned off. Down by Lake Ontario, on Ontario Street events happen in the evening – still sweltering the first night. We had front row seats on the patio, having decided to eat dinner at Tir Nan Og, I chose the butterr chicken as the least unhealthy choice, I ate the naan but not the rice. Half an undressed Beaver Tail much later in the evening rather defeated that purpose! The shows will go on for three days and is a delightful way to spend time with family and friends without breaking the bank account. Of course the performers highly appreciate receiving donations (in days past they would have asked for your spare coin) for their craft, usually deservedly so. I discovered it is exceedingly difficult to catch a photo of a man circling about in a giant hula hoop. https://www.pancholibreperformer.com/ out of Mexico. The following day, having seen his show once, I finally caught a shot of the hilarious https://kiltedcolin.com/ from the USA. Shows end at 3:00 with more at 6:00. Some excellent planning as this encourages audiences to stay downtown to eat out – which we did again! This time it was Woodenheads, also on a patio, where we shared scrumptious Coco Shrimp, and I had their Insalata Verde (rather bland balsamic dressing until I added lemon to it). Once again I was feeling holier than thou until my daughter brought us each (I thought we were going to share one) a gelato later in the evening. We took in one more full shows, then a pleasant surprise as we were leaving, at Market Square once the heat had finally cooled down to a tolerable 25c, Lisa Lottie, hula hoop artist was in the last 15 minutes of her show. https://lisalottie.com/ Despite not seeing the whole performance she is my favourite so far.

The hilarity of this went up a few notches when this piper found himself unwittingly competing with a didgeridoo from a nearby band also performing. These things cannot be planned.
Let us loose and we get into all sorts of mischief! Hennas, tattoos pending? I seem to go for sunflowers whenever I do this. Paw prints in the petals & outside the stem.
She has some wicked hula hoop tricks!

I also, finally, made it to Crave, (grabbing a shot of coffee and a photo) my favourite coffee shop where, after watching an afternoon performance, I hid out from the heat and had a lovely chat with a couple from Kingston. The plan is to return on the weekend with teenage grandson in tow if he is not called in to work. I hope there will be some exciting shows to hold his interest. Not even a week into July yet so much already packed in!

Expenses: I know I am staying fairly close to my daily budget; however, it is rather startling when I realize I have spent a chunk of money in a couple of days! $20.00 two snazzy hennas; $5.00 gelato; $4.00 – $5.00 Buskers (I did consider more each time until I realized I left all my cash behind the first day & did not get small change the second); $3.15 coffee at Crave (gasp! I think it might have been less but did not check my change right away. Besides, I did sit there, with the AC, for probably 2 hours with that one coffee!) $10.00 (approx) sunscreen.

Note on expenses: I do use my bank account and try to keep my withdrawals, of any sort, to a maximum of 12 per month so as to avoid any charges. It came as a shock to discover I had been charged $10.15, some of which were on top of e-transfer charges that I had been repaid for. Fortunately, my bank reversed the $10.15, and I now know to be aware of how sneaky they can be!