Summer is about holidays. These don’t have to be trips far away to foreign lands, nor do they have to take extended periods of time. They can simply be about visiting local places one has considered but never quite got around to seeing. Keeping this in mind, my eleven year old friend Emma and I drew up a list of interesting sites around the community and voilà, we were ready for a mini holiday.
Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg was on top of our list. The clop, clop clopping of the horses’ hooves, the slow meandering of the flat boat, the intoxicating fragrance of bread straight out of a wood-stove oven and the period costumes of the servers at Willard’s Hotel restaurant are all part of stepping back in time. While the dreamer in me missed seeing the grandeur of what the furnished Crysler Hall would have looked like, my charge was happy enough reading the various biographies of prominent people on display.
Tucked deep in the rambling grounds of the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary there is an inviting Interpretive Centre hosted by knowledgeable staff. I must admit I found the display of stuffed wild life to be somewhat unnerving. Not so my friend; she had never seen such furry critters up close. We both hoped to meet a live one, perhaps a fox trotting along the trail we took, but alas no. Instead, there were a few familiar kinds of birds flying about. (Apparently others hadn’t read the memo that we were coming.) When a family of bikers whizzed by waving at us, we decided that would have been a more effective way to explore.
Next on the list was a personal tour through the Lost Villages at Long Sault. We chuckled as Emma read the nine-point notification of rules 'To Teachers, 1870'. Unlike at most museums, she was delighted to be able to touch all the artifacts and was surprised at the seeming lack of security. Nothing looked vandalized. This realization gave me an even more positive appreciation for the considerate folk of our community.
And finally, we went to Cornwall's St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre. Emma enjoyed the technical information and the various fun games as well as the historic video and other handouts she received from the friendly staff.
As for me -- the best part of this experience was seeing it all through the eyes of a child.