After leaving Ottawa we headed south toward Kingston, at the other end of the Rideau canal. Our route took us there along the Thousand Islands Parkway. Seeing all these houses on islands brought up the discussion on whether it would be nice to live there. Houses built on islands, and with garages for boats instead of cars, while the cars themselves were kept on the river bank. Not always practical, but a beautiful place to live.
At Kingston we spent the night at a campground near the Kingston Mills locks, the end of the Rideau canal. This inspired a future holiday, following the canal (or are similar one in Sweden), by boat. Let’s see if we can arrange that some time in the next 5 years.
The next day we travelled slowly along the shores of Lake Ontario, toward Cobourg. There I met up with Georges, and the owner of the little music store Georges Guitars and Music to pick up a Gretsch Broadkaster bass, a rare item in Europe. Georges is a very kind man, who’s shop focuses on instruments and amps rather than trying look cool. Contrary to the big chains, he responded to my e-mails in search for this bass and put a nice price on it as well. As a small bonus, I got to take along the cardboard box of a quartet of other cases to built ‘flight protection’ for mine.
With the bass on board, and the next day took us to our friends Annemarie and Patrick and their two daughters, who moved to Canada’s Port Perry two years ago. We spent the night there, so there was plenty of time to catch up, and to learn about life in Canada. Port Perry is about an hour from Toronto, close to Lake Scugog, and on the edge of a green belt that is protected by Parcs Canada – which literally borders on our friends back garden. We couldn’t help feeling a bit envious when we saw their house and the ‘rich with children’ dead end court they live on. My wife was out voted three to one on moving to Canada, but I guess the children and I won’t easily move there without her…. Who knows, maybe one day.
Upon leaving them, it was time to return the motor home and spend two nights in Toronto itself, in a down town hotel on Yonge Street. Down town Toronto is great for food, and shopping and some nice sights. Best of the latter is the view from the CN tower, and which we did not get. On the first day, which it was too cloudy to be worth the money (30 CAD per person), on the second we had too little time before having to go to the air port. Something for a possible future visit maybe. We did enjoy seeing the old and new city halls next to each other though, when as well as Chinatown and the Lawrence market.
A bit of extra fun was our short meeting with waiter Jim at the Yonge Street Grille, who immediately spotted we were Dutch and started telling us about his Dutch grand parents, who moved to Canada quite a few years ago. His mix of Dutch and English was fun to hear, and his love for the Dutch soccer team a bit of a surprise (we had a good discussion about Louis van Gaal, who is the new team coach, which we had learned only that same morning). His kind of openness was what we encountered a lot in Canada (even in francophone Quebec), a pleasant contrast to the quite closed up or reserved Dutch culture.
Alas, here the holiday and the story end for now. I’ll probably come back to some of this later, when all impressions have settled into a complete view, but the urge to leave The Netherlands after a vacation was never as large as a now….. Canada left a second lasting impression, after our first taste 10 years ago.