During the summer of 2015, I had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a prolonged stay near Kingston Ontario, which is my home town. For six weeks, I stayed in a familiar rural setting and got to know it even better. On the edge of the wilderness,I stationed myself for numerous idyllic summer days at one of the cozy Three Little Cottages on Dog lake. These cute and comfortable cabins are owned by longtime neighbours and friends, Sharon and Will
Freeman of Battersea, Ontario. Their organic Freedom Farm, which is situated in close proximity to the cottages is the perfect complement to my Canadian quest for clean air, food and water! While these dedicated farmers quietly toiled over about 30 varieties of produce for their clients of the Community Supported Agriculture program, I was able to observe the tending and growing process and occasionally devour the ‘fruits’ of their labours – with great pleasure!
Its somewhat remote location actually forms part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB), which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. One of the biggest thrills for me in this place of serenity and solitude was the abundance of opportunities to observe wildlife up close. It was very exciting to be able to ‘shoot’ animals without ever disturbing them in their natural habitat. For me, that was a new experience that I want to repeat! A sampling of my encounters with wild four-legged and two-winged creatures is found below.
It’s also an area renowned for fishing, and my brother and sister-in-law took advantage of that opportunity. Edwin did catch a ‘big one’, but that is a story for another day. I had fun watching them cast their lines – morning, noon and night!
Many days, I read books by Kingston poet laureate and author Helen Humphreys. I also took short excursions to nearby villages such as Westport, Glenburnie Latimer, Seeley’s Bay and Inverary. These little
hamlets formed part of my childhood experiences and I always enjoy returning to them. Then there were times when I
drove half an hour south of the cottage near Battersea to go ‘downtown’, as my family used to refer to outings to Kingston from our country location.
This year, I decided that it was time to refresh my memory about the history of my beloved Limestone City, which was settled in the mid-17th century. It was no coincidence that my sudden
interest in a local refresher was prompted by the celebration of the 200th anniversary (bicentennial) of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister. Although he was not actually born here, he resided in Kingston, Canada’s first capital, for most of his life He subsequently died in Ottawa, the current longstanding federal capital. This visionary man was instrumental in developing a national railroad (from coast to coast) and, as a Father of Confederation, recognized that the country’s early cultural and regional differences would ideally make an exceptional nation! He met with many pitfalls along the way (both personally and professionally), but he perservered, and his ideas greatly influenced the kind of country that Canada is today!
caught up quickly on what was long forgotten in terms of my knowledge of this great Canadian when I took in the Salon Theatre Company’s top-notch re-enactment of the key events during Macdonald’s life in Kingston in an outdoor setting.
I thoroughly enjoyed the one hour performance by this professional acting troupe, and I could easily understand why they were rated a Trip Advisor top attraction in Kingston this past summer!
As this production further provoked my interest in reacquainting with my home town, I took a guided bus tour
of the Limestone City, as Kingston played such a prominent role in the founding of the Dominion of Canada. The historic sites are all very significant and well worth the review. As well, I heard more about our first prime minister. Kingstonians are certainly proud of their Sir John A.!
One another steamy day, I took the ferry from Kingston to Wolfe Island and back in order to get cooled off and to appreciate the lovely city from its
important location at the intersection of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal! Certainly the afternoon’s journey was most revitalizing. However, I did not take time to visit the quaint town of Marysville on the island, but will certainly do that on my next trip to Kingston.
It was a complete delight to take a guided tour of the brand new Isabel
Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University. As a graduate of the School of Music, I truly admired the state-of-the-art performance hall and attractive rehearsal space, both with world-class acoustics. I was bold enough to sing a few notes from the stage and was completely amazed by the quality of the sound. I envied current students, who I am sure will make good use of this facility. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I would!
In fact, the entire summer seemed to be filled with joyous events and occasions.
It was an honour as a proud Auntie to attend the high school graduation of my niece Mara, whose incredible academic accomplishments earned her the prestigious Governor General’s Medal, among other awards and post-secondary scholarships. She is a very humble, hardworking young lady, and I wish her much success in her university studies (at Queen’s!) and beyond.
A couple weeks after that ceremony, I was honoured to attend another milestone: that of the marriage of
longtime friends David and John at their home in eastern Ontario. Throughout that special afternoon, I was enveloped in the complete sensation of love and honour that prevailed throughout this unforgettable day. I felt so proud to be one of the 100+ witnesses of their formal vows of commitment to each other. The feelings of good will were definitely infectious. I wish my dear friends happiness and love always.
Then later that summer, I realized a commitment that had been overlooked for several previous visits due to the timing of my stays in Canada. My nephew Dallin is an accomplished student actor who
has participated in a number of plays produced by the Stirling Festival Theatre‘s Young Company in Stirling, Ontario. This year, I got to take in all the fun watching him and the cast singing and acting their hearts out in ‘Legally Blonde, The Musical’. After I saw the hilarious show for the second time, we gathered for a family reunion at The Black Dog Family Restaurant in Stirling, to top off the happy events of the Summer of 2015. We were all in fine form, and I have the photos to prove it!
After our gathering I drove back to the little cottage north of Kingston to spend what I thought would be my final week in Canada. As we now know, Tropical Storm Erika changed my plans and I got to enjoy a longer visit with family and friends. But before that happened, I felt completely at peace with my commune with nature and the pervasive tranquility that enveloped me during my six week retreat at the Three Little Cottages. I hope it won’t be too many summers before I can return there again!
But wait… there’s more! I haven’t told you about the adventures in Nova Scotia with my relatives this past July! Find out about my down-east fun times in the next post!