Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Bruce Peninsula Lodge

I want to say that autumn makes me miss home like no other season--but I'd be lying. Because the truth is that fall in Southwestern Ontario is never quite crisp enough, winter is too damp and grey, and summer is meaningless when you're trapped in smog and the days are too short.

But fall in Ontario does has a couple of things going for it. First, the trees here turn a deeper shade of autumn. (I press their leaves between my journal pages with fascination, but they never remain quite the same hue.) And instead of feeling the regret for a season lost (the kind of remorse that only sets in further as the snow sticks to the ground in Alberta), there's a sense of opportunity. Unlike my hometown, at least Ontario experiences a full four seasons. (Count them--four! Cold Lake just has winter and the four months in between.)

It's the kind of opportunity that, five years later, I'm only just beginning to experience.

I can tick off all the places that I've been in Ontario effortlessly: Port Elgin (once, right after I moved here, for Pumpkinfest), London (for nearly every Thanksgiving and Easter during my undergrad), Ottawa (to visit other displaced Albertans), Port Credit (it makes Mississauga sound more glamorous), Parry Sound, Huntsville, Owen Sound and Niagara Falls. For five years, it's not a very exhaustive list.

So, last weekend, I added one more place to the list: Tobermory. We arrived just as the last pub in town was shutting down for the season, checked into a motel where the cold seeped in through the door, and fell asleep to an ancient heater drying out our skin. When we woke up in the morning, the waves outside were white-capping and the wind howled through the empty motel parking lot.

We packed our things and drove to Bruce Peninsula National Park. Hiking through the woods, I was thrilled to be outside, but still couldn't quite figure out why I had so desperately wanted to leave our warm, comfortable condo to drive three hours north to what had essentially become a ghost-town overnight.

And then we saw this:

Sure, hail may have been pelting us in the face as we climbed around the shore's edge, but seeing this made the entire trip worth it.

And it was then and there, after five years of denial, that I realized maybe Ontario has a lot more going for it than just easy access late-night shawarma and hipster bars. This four season thing is kind of amazing when you think about it. It's just a matter of finding the time to take advantage of it.


  1. Ontario also has Birdhouse City -- the largest collection of birdhouses within one square mile in quite possibly the whole world. Or not.

    Anyway it's outside Picton.

  2. http://artmusicblog.blogspot.com/

  3. You are one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen…your eyes are absolutely amazing! Very interesting blog too...


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