Crossing back into Canada and into Ontario felt a little bit like coming home. Ok, other than the trees being maples, there being large rocks, copious amounts of water in lakes, no kangaroos.... it felt like home in the way that I could almost feel the connection with the land – a familiar feeling. We camped the night at Bruce Mines ($8, hot showers included), where I managed to get out and stretch my legs for a run beside Lake Huron and Brad had a good sleep in, much needed as he had come down with a cold
We headed towards southern Ontario – stopping at a farmers market, complete with local Mennonites selling locally grown fruit and vegetables while their horse was tied up under a tree and carriage was parked amongst the cars in the carpark. Brad being naturally inquisitive about this asked one young girl how old the horse drawn carriage was. ‘3 or 4 years old, my father makes them’ she told us. Incredible – the thing looked 200 years old in terms of design!
We stopped in Sudbury (yes – we did see the giant nickel on the hill), to find a macca’s and skype
our parents who were getting... uhhh... a little anxious to hear our voices (sorry it was so long!). I managed to track down a long lost cousin (the first of many in this trip) – Lillian. Lillian and Jim live in Point au Baril station, a tiny little town on the lake that gets over run with tourists in the summer, then frozen in for the winter. They run a beautiful cafe overlooking the harbour (The Harbour View – I definitely recommend it if you’re in the area!) serving fabulous meals! It was lovely to meet Lillian for the first time. I’d heard a number of stories of her and mom playing as kids – perhaps even causing a little bit of mischief? – and felt the family connection as soon as we made eye contact!
Ok, I should really stop myself here because I can detail all of the visits in intimate detail, describing all of my extended family. But, if you are not from the ‘Beach’ family and don’t have the Beach family genealogy - my maternal grandmother’s family – compiled by my great- grandfather and my grandma; (google it if you are interested!), you will soon get
lost on the details of how we are all related. If you are from the family.. well you have heard all of the stories Here’s the highlights:
• Spending time at Nancy’s house, outside of Barrie, for 2 days. Meeting the grandkids, Emma, Liam, Rory and Matthew, and playing with them in the awesome basement playroom; catching up with Lisa and Tom;
• Nancy introduced us to something else that I think my mom misses most about Ontario – Ontario corn, peaches, fresh tomatoes and green beans.
• Stayed up late pouring over the Beach family genealogy with Nancy and Phil (on different nights), trying to piece together and pondering over bits of family history;
• Hanging out at uncle Phil’s house catching up over some fantatic food and drink, seeing the local sites – Rattray Marsh, an urban wetland/bushland area, some of the biggest houses in the neighbourhood, Old Credit Brewing Company in Port Credit and best of all, his friend’s wonderful garden at twilight;
• Settling in at Phil’s also meant settling into a kitchen again for me! Salads, beautiful salads because there was a fridge; baking Banana Bread and Rosemary Flax toasts because there was a
fridge... knives, benches, bowls, measuring cups! And going for long walks and runs every morning....
• Meeting Terri and Tracey for the first time – I love these new cousins... I hope we get to spend some solid time together;
• A day out on the boat and to Centre Island with Lindsay, Brian, the now very talkative Jeremy and the new adorable addition to the family, Attia. A bbq including a gigantic jar of vegemite....
• Seeing Sarah and Andrew and their beautiful new (old) house in Hamilton, some waterfalls and hearing about their wedding plans;
• A picnic with Melissa in Waterloo... tantilizing lunch delights! Melissa is amazing!
• Day trip with Phil to Niagara Falls – such a powerful place-, the journey behind the falls, the drive along the Niagara River to Niagara-on-the-Lake, then onto some local wineries and orchards, stopping at Jane’s resting place on the way home;
• Another day trip out to my mom’s home town to visit the Storey’s. Seeing Mary Jane, Anne and Don after so many years was just a delight. Don driving us all around in our van on the grand tour of the town, a master bbq’er cooked supper,
with Mary and Kate!
• And, madness trying to put together, then figuring out how to print off my conference poster...
Phew. And then.... we headed off to Mexico!
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