Small trip to Canada
11.11.2010 - 14.11.2010 12 °C
And so my group's travels had now moved on to Canada, and we would be exploring mostly a small part of Ontario, having 3 days to spend. The flight into Toronto was quite good, and I particularly enjoyed the spectacular sunset when leaving Boston airport. Our first hurdle when we arrived into Toronto was to collect a rental car- and this indeed did end up being a hurdle! After much trouble with credit/debit cards, we finally got the car (an upgrade from what we originally had) and my Dad was to drive a Dodge Caravan (think massive American cars). Sure we had more space now, but we did lament not getting the sportier Dodge Challenger or Cruiser :P (awesome looking cars).
Now, my Dad had driven left-hand drive before in Europe, but that had been a little while ago now, and so there was a little challenge getting us out of Toronto airport. One of the biggest challenges was that the airport literally went out straight onto a series of highways, in which a driver used to right-hand drive would have to get used to driving very quickly! Another added challenge was working out our GPS, and luckily Shaun had some experience with these so was able to direct us to a location roughly where we wanted to go (we would find out later exactly where we needed to go :P). We were to drive to Aunty Jan's tonight, but we did not have the exact address and our USA phones were not working either… luckily I had my international sim card so we tried ringing Jan as soon as we reached somewhere to eat along the highway. The place we chose to eat was also a novelty- Wendy's (more American than Canadian but oh well). Everything here was supersize, as we were used to in the US, and it was an epic struggle to finish that bucket of softdrink and the towering burger that stood before us. After much tribulations and successfully calling Jan, we locked the GPS onto the correct location (Hillier) and followed a pretty much direct highway route for the rest of the trip. We had all arrived at Jan and Mariane's cottage quite late, and were relieved to have somewhere cosy and welcoming to sleep for the night (thanks Jan and Mariane!).
The next morning, after enjoying a rare sleep in ( :D ), Dad, David, Shaun and I headed off with Jan for a drive around some of the local towns and sights. I was expecting Canada to be freezing, but found, surprisingly, the weather very pleasant and warm, around 10-15 degrees. Indeed, in the sunlight it was very warm, and Shaun and I had found it funny to prove one of our lecturers wrong in saying that we'd be very underprepared for the "cold and harsh weather in Ontario" :P. Our first stop included going to a beautiful spot called "Lake on the Mountain", which contained a mysterious lake that seemed to have formed on a mountain. The scenery around here was stunning- deep blue sky, red, yellow and orange leaves, wonderful old houses, and a boatshed on the lake. Canada was looking pretty awesome
The Inn at "Lake on the Mountain"Stunning lake scenesShaun and I basking in some of that warm, Canadian sunshine :P
The rest of the day consisted of us firstly having some really good food (decently priced too) at an inn closeby. Our next stop was to visit a cabin on Lake Ontario belonging to Jan and Mariane, which had stunning views of the lake, if only you could mind the smell of the rotting algae :P This smell aside, the cabin was really cool, made almost entirely of wood, and had a tranquil location which would be great for a summer getaway (no swimming in the lake today though). Before we knew it, time had escaped us and the short winter day had started to end, so we headed back to the cottage in Hillier. Luckily we had got back in time for me to take some shots of the awesome sunset, very happy not to have missed that We had a great night chatting with Jan and Mariane about all sorts of things, and enjoyed some Canadian beer, as well a small sample of the famed "ice wine" (loved this!).
Views of Lake Ontario from the cabinThe cabin on Lake OntarioInside the cabin enjoying the views of the lake..Stunning sunset at the cottage in HillierSome more of those cool looking barnsI like the way that the sunset is reflected on these windows..The shape of these trees is strange and full of characterLast shots of the sun..A small glimpse of the moon
The next day was spent visiting a place called "Silent Lake", which was also beautifully scenic. The drive there took us a few hours, in which Jan was able to show us quite a bit of what the Canadian countryside looks like (very rocky with variations of grasses, pines, junipers and maples). This part of Ontario was also referred to as "Granite Country", due to the high concentration of granite in the rocks. Especially nice was the pink granite present in some of these rocks. Once we had arrived at the lake, it was funny to see, out of all places, a vending machine! Who would've though, a soft drink vending machine in a national park picnic area… See below for some of the shots of the picturesque Silent Lake- especially liked the lone pine tree on one of the lake's islands.
Vending machine in the Silent Lake national park- unlikely spot!Picnic area at Silent LakeStunning lake views..Chilling by the lake..There it is!That awesome lone pine island :PJan and Dad admiring the LakeGreat day for some canoeing!
And so unfortunately our time in Ontario, Canada was coming to an end- and so quickly! I will definitely need to come back and explore some more of this beautiful and vast country, which seemed to take forever to get to somewhere that looked so deceivingly close on the map (or so I thought :P). The next day we left quite early to Toronto for our flight to San Francisco, and made our preparations to get back into the US once again.
Au revoir Canada and hello again USA