In Midland– a visit with the Gilliards

August 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

Several weeks ago, my husband and I drove up to Midland to see some relatives on his mother’s side of the family.  They had hoped to host a family reunion, but that didn’t quite come to pass. We had planned to go anyway and had booked our motel.

Since our adult children could not go on this weekend, I had tucked our wedding album from last year into our belongings so that we could show them our family, along with our grandchildren.

Our drive on that Saturday morning was pleasant, if a bit long, taking the scenic route instead of the freeway. We drove through rolling hills and close to the lake, and had our lunch in Wasaga Beach.


We checked in at our motel, the Comfort Inn, at Midland, and called Len’s cousin to tell her that we had arrived and would be at their home quite soon. All this time I was trying to remember how Irene looked. I hadn’t remembered her husband Wayne at all. We would also get to meet their son Alan and his wife Annette for the first time.

Irene was waiting at their front door when we arrived, wondering if we had got lost. She said, “I called the motel to be sure they hadn’t sent you to Robert Street in Penetang instead of Midland.”

None of that occurred. We had just taken a little time to relax and freshen up after the long drive.

We stepped out to greet our relatives and right away I recognized familial features, although I would have seen Irene at a family christening at least 10 years ago.  Irene loves to garden and so she offered to show me around her backyard.

Wayne and my husband followed, but stopped off to sit in the gazebo in the backyard. Irene said right off that we were going out for supper, I wondered which place they would choose, not knowing Midland at all.

We sat in the gazebo chatting and becoming acquainted and watching a chipmunk come out and gather the peanuts that Wayne threw to him. Finally I caught him on camera.


Our next plan was to go and see Alan and Annette. Alan was the cousin we had never met, along with his wife Annette. We sat in their patio in the backyard awhile, chatting and looking at our wedding photos from last year, then went indoors to look at photos on their computer from their daughter’s recent wedding. We talked about  wedding planning, of which we both had recent experience.

Alan called the restaurant to get a reservation for the six of us, and Wayne took us on another little tour by car on the way to the restaurant.

Henry’s Fish Restaurant, at Wye Heritage Marina, offered us many choices of fish done a couple of different ways. I love a good fish dinner and chose pan fried fish, whereas my husband prefers it breaded.

We waited awhile in the lobby since the  place was well booked. After ordering our dinner, we had more time to get to know our hosts better.

A delicious fish dinner, eaten in good company, and tentative plans for them to come to us next summer, then it came time to say good-bye to Alan and Annette since they were booked the next day taking their son to the airport.

“We  have to get a photo,” I said, and so they posed outside Henry’s, first by themselves and then with my husband.


After more visiting at Wayne and Irene’s home, my husband and I made our way to the motel to get some sleep. We had plans for more visiting the next day and promised blueberry pancakes by Irene for our breakfast next morning. We would be driving home on Sunday as well.

After Irene’s yummy pancakes, we made plans to go and see the Big Chute. Wayne took us up past the Midland Shrine and on up to our destination.

Wayne parked the car and we crossed the road past a gulley of rocks where water once rushed down the hill in angry torrents, but which is now dry.


We arrived just in time to see the carriage come up one side and go down the other side.

The Big Chute Marine Railway, at White’s Falls Road, takes smaller and larger craft from one body of water to another by means of a railway car that goes on a track—a feature of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, lock 44.


Here the car is coming up one slope…


… crossing the road and going down the slope to the other side. You can see the pulleys that guide and control the carriage between the two tracks.

We stayed around waiting for the carriage to pass back the other way and walked down the stairs to see the lower body of water and boats waiting on the other side.


You can see that the boat that was secured to the carriage can now motor away from the lock.


Irene watching from the stairs



I watched a woman nimbly move from the front end of the boat back to the cabin as it moved away from the carriage, then waved to her not knowing we would get to meet the couple soon after.

They pulled their boat up near the end of the walkway, secured it and got out. I said hello and soon discovered they were from Guelph, not that far away from our home city. We chatted about holidays and business networking and exchanged information.


Bob and Bon, from Guelph, with Bob’s Harmony


Bonnie offered to take some pictures of us together on our holiday, a good idea since  we were both snapping pictures of people and scenes around us.


Time to head back to Midland, but one more shot with Wayne and Irene, this time with me in it.


Back in the car, we toured around, located the farm where they once lived and then back into Midland, visiting as we went. Then one last photo of Wayne, Irene and my husband before we left their home.


To our hosts: Thanks, Wayne and Irene, Alan and Annette. Hope to see you in Kitchener next summer.

Other photos from Midland will be in a separate post to follow.

© Photos by L. and C. Wilker, August 2013


Entry filed under: culture, entertainment, environment, family, friendship, Gardening, lifestyle, photography, travel, travel in Canada, writing, writing family stories. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Through the eyes of a two-year-old–Carolyn R. Wilker Writing classes open to registration at the Rockway Centre, Kitchener

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