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Canada Photos:  Ontario,  Manitoba,   Maritimes

Journal of the San Francisco Ambassadors
on the Canada Exchange
(including a pre-exchange trip to the Maritimes)
 August 29 to September 20, 2008
Photos by Exchange Director Barry Rader

Canada Journal:  Ontario,  Manitoba,   Maritimes


Exchange with Greater Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario

Friday, September 5
A Travel Day to Greater Hamilton-Burlington, Ontario Friendship Force club

By Gail

This morning Deborah Stover, our fantastic tour guide from Caravan Tours, has us up and out of the village of Dundee to travel to the Halifax Airport, where our next adventure will begin for our two exchanges. (I realize my home stay will be in the town of Dundas, Ontario, wonder what the relationship might be?) To keep us from “NAPPING,” Deborah supplied us with more history via a movie title, “Royale Tattoo” which is a tale of the celebration of July 7th in Canada. Then of course a few more musical tunes performed by local Canadians. At last 11:00am, starting to bid our “Adieu” to all fellow traveler’s, hugs for the Deborah, tips for the driver!

The Halifax Airport knew that the FFSFBA Club had a 4 hour layover. They provided us with a sneak preview of their annual air show routines over the skyways of the airport. Those members that were Flying Machine Buffs, enjoyed viewing the 9 Red & White Snowbirds (modern counter insurgency—Tudor, Canadian), 3 Yellow— “Yellow Jackets” (Harward of WW II vintage, from the 40’s, as seen in “Tora Tora“), US—Globe Master, and 2 B2 Bombers Play & Track. Now, if Hurricane Hanna came through that coming Sunday, the Canadian Coast Guard would be busy, and the show would be
on hold.

Now for others to pass the time away, you could find a few of the happy travelers lunching at the local Canadian Eateries such as Tim Horton’s, Maritime Ale House, Lower Level Deli, followed by an ice cream delight at Nestle Creamery. Since we were unable to check our luggage, we posted our own SFFSBA Security Sentries on a rotation schedule. Of course we had our shoppers, finding wonderful Canadian made items, such as Pot Holders of Bearded Collies, literature on The Halifax Explosion, Pewter Butterfly Pins, and local artist’s paintings and stationary. My treasure are cards with the beautiful “Pink Lady Slippers” the flower of Prince Edwards Island (an endangered species), the artist, Marilyn Hatfield personally signed them for me. Finally, the announcement, Flight 833 to Hamilton ready to board!

At the Hamilton Airport we are greeted by our hosts from the Hamilton/Burlington Club, and then rushed off to enjoy a Formal Sit Down, four (4) courses Pot Luck Dinner in the home of Andrew and Janis Muller, Exchange Director. In attendance were no less than 55 hosts and ambassadors. What a festive feast after a very long day’s travel.















Saturday, September 6
Kitchener/Waterloo, St. Jacobs Market, Mennonite Museum, Webers' Mennonite Farm

By Martha and Bill Crowe 

This was the day that we headed to Kitchener/Waterloo. Our first stop was St Jacobs Market where we were greeted with visual treats on every front. We found a huge assortment of food vendors, from those who brought local home-grown produce to those who sold strawberries/raspberries from California, cheaper than we can buy them in CA. The produce was lush and beautiful and made us want to buy and buy. The market also housed specialty shops in a building—crafts, clothing, cheeses, meats (including peameal bacon), quilts—you name it, they had it.

After this, we ventured into St. Jacobs and visited the Mennonite Museum where we learned about the Old Order Mennonites whom we saw at the market. Their beliefs center on very plain, simple living as exemplified by their clothing and use of horse and buggies. Their early beginnings were in Europe and during the reformation were persecuted. They now are in 75 countries with a variety of living styles but all based on compassion and peace.

We then proceeded to the Webers’ farm for a visit and dinner. The Webers are Mennonites and we were served a bountiful dinner in their charming/warm kitchen. This included a variety of homemade treats: pickles, cole slaw, sausage, creamed potatoes, bread, and sugar and raspberry pies. All the dishes were washed by hand by Mr. and Mrs. Weber between dinner sittings. 

We then drove over the last covered bridge in Canada. On our way home, we passed miles of corn, soy beans, alfalfa, and farms. 

Brandy on our hosts’ patio with their view of Toronto across Lake Ontario! A lovely, lovely day.







Sunday, September 7

By Martha and Bill Crowe

We all gathered at the GO Station—Government of Ontario—and were met by Neil and the school bus. Neil is a retired policeman who drives a school bus for special occasions, so F.F. paid for the school bus, and Neil donated his driving time. This was a very rainy day, so we modified the touring. We were off to downtown Toronto where we were let off in an area of high density condos close to the trains. We went into a building designed by Santiago Calatrava—huge domed ceiling surrounded by white ribs rising that accentuated the height. After this we went into the underground area that makes Toronto habitable in the winter—many, many stores and restaurants wandering all over with compass directions on the ceilings and signs to guide you to the stores. There is even the façade of an old bank building inside this complex.

The arts are alive and well—the Government gave 40% and the rest was private money for the ballet/opera house, The Four Seasons Center. The first Four Seasons hotel is in Toronto and the founder still lives there. There is a very large China Town plus many special areas. Canada receives 250,000 immigrates a year, but approximately 125,000 end up in Toronto.

The Toronto Film Festival was in full swing and is a huge gathering. New facilities are being built and people in Toronto are dedicated movie goers.

One square mile in the heart of the city holds the 6 Jesuit colleges—the largest university in Canada. Unlike the U.S. colleges, sports do not take center stage.

We drove through many neighborhoods including: Hazleton Ave with Victorian row houses that are walking distance to the university; Forest hill which is a very affluent, older area with a 15 minute drive to downtown; Roxborough has huge, brick, single family homes and backs up onto a park; Rosedale is one square mile of large brick homes; and Church Street which is part of the gay community. (The Canadian Government has legalized gay marriages.) Jane Jacobs, a professor from the states, came to Toronto and has had a huge, positive impact on the design of the city.

We walked through the Queen Street Mal—20 years old, seven stories high, and glass ceiling.

We then attended a wonderful organ concert at the Anglican Cathedral followed by a walk to the waterfront. Here the walk is close to the shore with less grass and more walking space.

We headed back to the GO station and dinner with our hosts.









Monday, September 8
Haliburton Highlands with hosts, The Sculpture Forest, Fenelon Falls, Minden Wild Water Reserve

By Lori English

We stayed at Ted & Gail Morris's cottage at Haliburton Highlands with our host Jill Regoeczi, Gail Boyd, Pat and Dave Fortmeier. 

We awoken late Monday morning to the smell of cinnamon rolls and hot coffee. After our delicious breakfast I walked down to the Lake and took pictures.

We then left to meet the Haliburton Friendship Force Club and their ambassadors from the Romania Club, at The Sculpture Forest. All the sculptures were done by local artists. Next we headed to Skyline Park for a picnic lunch overlooking a speculator view of the city.

Our hosts took us to the home of Barbara Joy Peel. A local artist who does pottery. She showed us around her studio. Pat had previously bought one of the bracelets that she had made. 

Next we went to the local dairy in Kawartha to have ice cream before heading home. They had unusual names for their flavors. I had "Unloaded and Locked" named after the 100 year celebration of the Locks. Gail had "Sugar Shack" and Pat "Bear Claw."

Next we headed to Fenelon Falls and Minden Wild Water Reserve, white water rapids, which they had put a bid in for the Olympics. 

Arrived back at the cottage at 5:00 p.m. Ted had made Lamb shank in the crock-pot. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and after Ted told a Ghost Story about the 1812 war that he had written.

Tired from our long and satisfying day, we all went to bed early.









Tuesday, September 9
Haliburton Highlands cottage hosting, Esson Lake

By Pat Fortmeier

Dave and I were guests of our hosts Gail and Ted Morris at their cottage in the Haliburton Highlands. Gail Boyd and Lori English and their host Jill Regoeczi were also guests of the Morrises. This morning Ted fixed us all a “farm” breakfast of pancakes made on the griddle at the table. Our hosts had arranged for their lake neighbor, Joey, to give us all a pontoon boat ride around their lake. Esson or Otter Lake is about 5 km long with many bays to explore. Some of the trees were just beginning to change color so it was a lovely and chilly ride on the beautiful lake. The high light was seeing 3 or 4 loons. Loons are about the size of a large duck or small goose. Their plumage is largely black-and-white with a white belly. They have a spear-shaped bill and sit low on the water. On Monday, I had purchased a pewter pin of a loon with babies.

We had a lunch of sandwiches and some leftovers. After preparing the “cabin,” we left for Toronto about 3:00 p.m. Esson Lake is about 3 hours from Toronto. On the way home we again went through the township of Uxbridge where Lucy Maude Montgomery, the author of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, had lived with her minister husband, Rev. Ewen Macdonald. We also stopped for ice cream at an antiques store near Eldon. Jill did a great job of following our car until near the airport and then decided it was better to proceed on to her own home. Gail, Ted, Dave and I ate dinner at an Italian Restaurant with pretty stained glass. The owner is a friend of Ted’s from Masons.










Wednesday, September 10
Niagara Falls Day

By David Fortmeier

We left about 8:00 a.m. after breakfast. Ted drove us to the Power Centre in Burlington to meet the school bus. The QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) is the first four lane highway in North America. It goes from Toronto to Niagara and then on to Buffalo. The Niagara Peninsula has a lot of German names. Many Mennonites and United Mennonite Brethren came up from PA. They raised fruit and nut trees. For a long time one had to be German to get elected in Niagara on the Falls. Hamilton is still considered the peach belt. We passed the Hamilton steel mills. 40% of the population of Canada is in Ontario. We received a little economic comparison of Canada and the United States. The two countries have had trade wars especially over lumber. We now have a free trade agreement concerning automobiles. All basic health care is taken care of and paid for by taxes.

Neil Stephenson was the driver of the bus and Ellen Ackerman was our leader today. We drove by the Welland Canal (it goes from Montreal to Lake Ontario and opened in 1959). It is closed from December to April. There are 15 locks and 4 different canals have been built over the years. The canal allows ships to avoid Niagara Falls by traversing the Niagara Escarpment. 

We had a 45 minute presentation at the IMAX Theatre with examples of the “containers” used to go over the falls. Rossi Glass is located next door to the IMAX Theatre where we took a tour and saw them blowing glass. They are noted for their cranberry glass which is shipped throughout Canada and the United States.

Lunch was at the Royal Canadian Legion #51. We had a buffet lunch of sandwiches, chips, and fruit. We were all given many pins. Gail Boyd met her friends from the Niagara Falls FF. They then proceeded to the Casino which had beautiful flowers outside. The rest of us proceeded onto Skylon Tower which is the most famous landmark next to the Falls. From the Tower we had great views of both falls. Niagara Falls is divided into the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. The Horseshoe Falls drops about 173 feet; the height of the American Falls varies between 70-100 feet because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The Horseshoe Falls is also much wider. Our next “tourist” stop was the trip on the Maid of the Mist. We were all issued bright blue ponchos to help keep us dry while getting up close to the falls in the mist. The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. After the boat ride we walked along the boardwalk for beautiful shots of the falls with the rainbow. It was almost raining next to the buildings. After boarding the bus we went to see the cable cars which cross the river. Our final photo stop was at the floral clock. On the way back to Hamilton/Burlington we heard about the Battle of Stoney Creek during the War of 1812. The battle is commemorated in the song “Billy Green.” Annually the battle is re-enacted. Ted and Gail were waiting when the bus arrived.

We drove on Lakeshore in Burlington to get to our dinner host. Ted said it was faster than the freeway and much prettier. They get a moderating affect from the Lake so they have less snow. The area has always been very treed. Gail grew up on Rossmoor Blvd. Our dinner host was Marion Kiddell who refers to Ted and Gail as the friendlies. She is a widow whose husband had been an Anglican priest. Marion is now 90 years old and prepared the whole dinner herself. She also sang for us. What a delightful day!









Thursday, September 11

By David B. Gustavson

We got up at 6:30, left home at 7:30, caught a transit bus at 9:00 at Aldershot. There were people standing. We rushed from the bus to our commuter train, scheduled for 9:07 departure from Burlington's Fairview GO station, worried that our group might be split up, but the train waited long enough for us to catch it if we really hurried, so we all made it. The train left at 9:18. We bought day passes, which cost $8.60 for seniors.

Once in Toronto, our leader, Ted Morris, took us on the subway to the Exposition stop. Ted explained that Toronto really didn't exist until the American Revolution. During the Irish Potato Famine the population doubled in one year!

Toronto is built on landfill from Union Station to Lake Ontario. The Americans burned the government building in York (now Toronto), so the British burned the American mansion incompletely in retaliation. The damage was concealed by whitewash, making it our White House!

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse in Toronto was not moved when the old harbor was filled in, so it's quite misplaced today, right in the city.

We next visited Lil' Norway, where we ate our picnic lunches in the park. There we saw some interesting memorial stones and sculptures honoring the Irish.

At Queens Quay we took the 1:45 Island Ferry, the "William Inglis," which went to Center Island and then we got off at Wards Island. We walked around and looked at the old houses there. The islands were built by a "reciprocal current" from Niagara. At 3:45 we returned by ferry to Toronto, and used a transfer to catch a tram. It was very slow due to problems with the tracks.

We (Lorne Hill, Dave and Dee, and Louise and Wil) ate dinner at the Mill Street Brewpub, in an area where old industrial buildings have been transformed into an interesting upscale shopping area. Dave and Dee split a Cottage Pie with salad and Dave tried a local Cobblestone stout.

We then caught bus 72a back to Union Station, where we caught the train to Burlington, where we expected to get off and catch a transit bus to Aldershot, the reverse of our morning's procedure. We were scattered across several train cars. OOPS! The system unexpectedly changed, running that train all the way to Aldershot instead. Some of us got off at Burlington as we'd been instructed, but noticed most of us had stayed on board, and fortunately all of us managed to re-board in time! A careful head count at Aldershot verified that we'd all arrived OK. Whew! How many ways can things go wrong??.










Friday, September 12
Wings of Paradise butterfly farm, Farewell Party

By Dee Gustavson

This was an exciting day for our hosts, Lorne and Angela Hill, because they got a high-speed internet connection installed that morning. Of course Dave was pleased, because now he could pick up emails easily and connect to the internet.

While Angela went to work, Lorne grilled cheese sandwiches for our lunch, then took Dave and me sightseeing to Wings of Paradise, a butterfly farm in Cambridge. What a lovely place, with many varieties of butterflies flitting about in the tropical setting. Some were eating, and some just crawling out of their chrysalis, drying their wings off before getting ready to fly. The butterflies were beautiful, including the blue, iridescent Morpho from Central America. They're the most difficult to photograph, because they don't seem to land very often and when they do land, they raise their wings and hide the bright blue.

Enroute back to our hosts' home, we stopped at a Salvation Army store to check out bargains. More chances to fill up our luggage! (We discovered that Angela and I both love garage sales and bargains, and we went to at least 20 sales the morning we left! I found some neat toys and children's books for our granddaughter, plus a jacket and sewing patterns for me.)

We hurried home in order to change clothes for the Farewell Party. On the way to Hamilton, we picked up Angela at her job at the University of Guelph. The Farewell Party was a lovely, memorable event held at Tucker's Market Place. The bountiful buffet offered many kinds of meat, vegetables, breads and desserts. After we were all stuffed with delicious food, the program began. Janis Muller expressed appreciation to us for coming, and thanked everyone who worked on the exchange. She declared the exchange a success, and indeed it was! Barry Rader and Reno-Tahoe's ED Elinor Berger thanked Janis and all the hosts for making the exchange possible.

Each club then entertained the other with songs. Our club sang "Red River Valley," "Consider Yourself One of Us," and our own Canada-specific words (thanks, Gail!) to the tune of "42nd
Street." The Burlington-Hamilton Club sang Friendship Force words to the tune of "
The Happy Wanderer." Our club joined them in singing their national anthem, "O Canada," and the evening concluded with "Let There Be Peace."

After we got home, Angela and I had fun playing a game of Scrabble, (she won!) and then we packed our suitcases and headed to bed at 1 a.m! The week had flown by and we had seen and done a lot, including my favorites: having dinner with the Mennonites, and seeing the Canadian side of Niagara Falls! Best of all, we learned a lot about Canada and made many new friends.










Saturday, September 13
McMaster's University; Farewell Brunch; Leaving for Winnipeg, Manitoba

By Louise Heiduk

The morning started a little later than usual. We slept until 7:30. Breakfast took a long time as we spent a long time talking together. After breakfast we took a walk along the escarpment to enjoy the view of the city. When the computer Dr arrived we drove to McMaster's University with Colleen. We walked around campus and visited the art museum. We then went to the home of Janis and Andy for a farewell brunch where we enjoyed visiting with all the hosts one last time. When the sing-along started we had to leave as we had left our luggage at Peter and Colleen's home. After we picked up our luggage we continued to the airport to catch the plane to Winnipeg. At Winnipeg our hosts were waiting and our second adventure began.









Ontario | Manitoba | Maritimes

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