Peter embraces this brave new Canadian world.
Tipped off by Rachelle, our host for the week, I learned that Lucy Maud Montgomery spent many years living nearby here in Ontario. I looked up the museum, found it to be located only 15 minutes from the house, and discovered that today there would be a talk given by the author of the new YA novel, Maud, a fictionalized story of LMM’s teenage years. A stroke of serendipity, to be sure!
I wish that the girls had been with me as Melanie, the author, gave a great speech crediting her fan-girl love of Laura Ingalls Wilder for her journey to English professor, historian and writer of Historical Fiction. I think they’d really have gotten a kick out of it.
Given her love of all things Laura and LMM I am sure that Melanie and I are kindred spirits already and I can’t wait to dig into Maud. Just the cover has me falling in love!
So, in short, I met some lovely ladies, toured their LMM museum exhibit, sat in the same beautiful church that LMM did and was really happily surprised to be able to find a bit of her spirit outside of PEI.
Armed only with some scant information from the internet and some intense looking at Google maps, Peter and I set out with our bikes to circumnavigate Georgina Island of the Chippewas, located in Lake Simcoe here in Ontario.
We parked, grabbed our bikes and boarded the ferry, AAZHAAWE, without incident and had a lovely ride across the lake. (marked in BLUE on the following map) We mounted our wheeled steeds and took off clockwise around the island. Our hope was that we might find a small beach or even bench to sit at and eat our picnic lunch, but as we approached the north west corner we had seen very little of the coast and certainly no spot to stop. The photo above was the first and only opportunity to snap such a picture. The road continued, but the pavement soon gave way to dirt. (On our map, GREEN marks the paved roads on the island)
As we continued, the dirt road (which we had anticipated, given our Google Maps research) suddenly turned into some kind of dirt/gravel surface, riddled with shin deep and roadway-wide puddles, inhabited by frogs and also mosquitos of unusual size and ferocity. (See RED)
We slogged along, riding where we could and walking our bikes through the puddles where we couldn’t, checking our phones periodically to make sure that we were still headed back towards civilization. Neither of us took a photo and we avoided eye contact lest either of us betray our feelings of shame/embarrassment/fury to the other. Also, we saw some lovely, tiny, orange monarch colored butterflies.
After one or two harrowing
months half hours we came around a bend and tarmac and power lines were once more in view. Oh, the joy! We hit the pavement running (figuratively, we were on wheels, remember) and pedaled our little hearts out back towards the ferry dock, passing some lovely homes and a beautiful marsh full of wild flowers.
Once back at the dock, we ate our sandwiches in the hot midday sun, as the island’s mosquito population seemed to inhabit all the shady areas, and guzzled down our water. Only then did one of us brave this particular conversation, “Well, I was expecting that to be a bit more scenic that it turned out to be, but that wasn’t so bad.” The look she received in response suggested that it was, indeed, so bad.
Behind me is displayed a genuine Blue Whale heart. Harvested from a deceased whale that washed ashore, it was plasticized in Germany and is now on display in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I always knew that their hearts were big, but seeing one in person was amazing. I could fit inside it! Just next to it in this exhibit was a Smart Car that was about the same size. Wowza!
You can learn all about it, too! Here’s the exhibit’s website.