Posts filed under ‘travel in Canada’

Riding the Ion


If there’s anything that gets people’s dander up, it’s change. And we’ve had massive change in our twin cities over the Ion, the light rail, first whether it should be built and then upheaval on our roads for months and months while tracks and roads were under construction.

Canada Day was the last day for a free ride. Our youngest daughter and her husband were talking their two-year-old son on the Ion, and we decided to join them. I was interested and had thought of doing it. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.


close to the universities

The ride was smooth, with nary a bump or shudder on stopping or starting. As the driver of our family vehicle, I don’t have the privilege of just looking around me. I need to focus on my job of driving, watching for lights, pedestrians and other drivers. This ride would offer the opportunity to just look out the windows and enjoy the ride.

We were fortunate to get seats when we boarded and it wasn’t long before there were people standing in the aisle holding on to the straps or a seat.

Apparently the changes are not over (Reality, things never stay the same). More property is being bought along the main street that runs from one city to the next. According to a passenger I spoke with briefly, people in her neighbourhood are not pleased with the additional changes that are coming—tall condos or other buildings that will rise along the main street. They’d even gone to city hall and signed a petition against the change. It got me thinking about low income housing close to that route and how it would affect them. Where will they go?

One the other hand, the Ion will convey a large number of passengers from Point A to Point B, along the main street that has schools, hospital, doctors’ offices and businesses on or close to the route.

As citizens, we’re being encouraged to step out of our cars and take the public transit. Drivers of cars and trucks honour traffic lights, but the Ion doesn’t stop for those things, only at their stations where passengers are waiting.

Thing is from our neighbourhood, we still have to take other transportation to the Ion and park at a lot, or find a bus close to it that connects to the light rail. Not as convenient for people in the outlying areas, but it would definitely be a boon to those living close to the main line, and it could work well for attending a festival uptown.


clean and quiet ride

Our city is changing, that’s for certain. The powers that be had decided on intensification of the core, and while we are certainly not at the size of TO or Mississauga, it seems our population is growing. The building will go on and people will need to adapt to it, even when there are bumps in the road along the way.



July 6, 2019 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Author Afternoons– I’m on!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be part of Author Afternoons. On Saturday, June 29th, from 1:00-3:30 pm,  I’ll be at the Waterloo Visitor and Heritage Information Centre on 10 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo.

I’ll be giving a workshop titled Begin to Write Your Memories. The workshop will be hands on, as in you get to write, so bring paper and pen or  your laptop and be prepared to participate.

This is a new initiative by the City of Waterloo Arts and Culture to introduce residents and visitors to the authors in the area. It’s exciting to be part of it.

See you there!

2019 Author Afternoons_Social Media Square-01

May 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment



Early November in southwestern Ontario, we had a real first snow. It coated trees and covered roofs, nearly buried the gardens and gave drivers a reason to haul out their snow brushes. It was cold too.



like how the snow mounds on the picnic table top and benches, like a marshmallow top



Ceramic birdhouse made by my friend Valda. It may not be the most comfortable place for birds, but it’s a pretty decoration.



Time to put the watering cans away. We had to turn them upside down and drain them first.



snow on the trellises, and fence, a neat pattern

Weather in Canada, at least where we are. It comes and it stays.

Today I’ll share a poem that I wrote years ago, published by Tower Poetry Society.


Frozen Beauty

maples wave skeleton arms, patterning a cold blue sky

exposing abandoned nests and fragile papery globes

work of birds and bees


silvery icicles and white patches weigh down

evergreen branches, they sag

like an old woman with a heavy load


paw prints parallel booted feet

imprinting, crunching the cold white blanket

over frozen soil and city concrete


gardens, a silhouette of frozen stalks, dried seedpods

waiting… at rest until spring

like hibernating bears


©Carolyn Wilker


Published by Tower Poetry Winter Edition 2004-2005 Vol. 53 No. 2

December 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Another breakfast with our hosts


Though I knew we were going home and had a good time, I looked forward to that last breakfast at Between the Maples. Gord and Maggie had such interesting experiences in their lives that it was good to chat with them. They asked about us too. And our breakfast was delicious. I could have sat longer to talk, yet we had a few places we wanted to see before we left Owen Sound.


Maggie and Gord, an unbeatable team

While we said our thank yous, Maggie handed me a small envelope. Gord helped us carry our things to the car and we were on our way.  I had to check what was in the envelope. It was a little note handwritten by Maggie, wishing us a happy anniversary and wishing us well. That was sweet. And she’d bought a copy of Harry’s Trees for their small grandson.



Tom Thomson art on display at this time

First to the Museum, but it wasn’t open yet. No problem, we went to the library next door to discover that part of it was the original Carnegie Library. I was intrigued also by the decor by the stairs, what looked like a shelf of books was actually placecards for donors who contributed to updating the children’s library.



Such an appropriate way to recognize donors

The children’s area showed great thought and appreciation for children’s literature and for those who spend time in this place. Certainly inviting.


The library had received permission for an artist to create a stained glass piece on art by Marie-Louise Gay, a Canadian artist and book author. Love her stories about Stella and Sam. This was perfect for the children’s area


We looked around a little more in that area before heading downstairs. Whoever had designed the changes had young children in mind too.



I had permission of the parents to take this photo. This is just one example of a kid-friendly library.

I spoke to a librarian sharing my delight in their space and how it was so inviting for children and their parents.

IMG_20180928_1109214 (2)

The original Carnegie library kept as it was. I could have spent more time here.




Needs no further explanation


We headed over to the art museum next door. I didn’t take photos of the art for obvious reasons, but we did take time to look through the selection of Thomson’s art and pieces by other artists inspired by Thomson and the Group of Seven.

By this time we had some rain and wind. We’d decided to go to Harrison Park, just to see it, before we headed home.



A family bought this land and dedicated it for a park


One of the children’s play areas


A well kept park near the end of season

We left this pretty park in drizzly and windy weather and began our drive homeward. We’d stop in Varney for lunch at Pebbles Restaurant and go on home from there.

It was good to get away for a few days and we certainly enjoyed our stay.

If you have the chance to go to Owen Sound for a holiday, check in with Between the Maples B & B and enjoy some time with Gord and Maggie.


October 19, 2018 at 1:56 am Leave a comment

Blue Mountains


We finally made it to Blue Mountain, but there’d be no skiing.  It’s too early and I’ve never learned to ski down a mountain. The barn hill with kid skis that we shared, when I was ten or eleven, was the closest I’d get to the real thing.

We headed for Blue Mountain and after our stop at Meaford with the Scarecrow Invasion, we stopped in Thornbury for lunch and then it wasn’t far.



The lake right by the old station

We found the place we were looking for, the Craigleith Heritage Depot, a former train station, now a historical site full of interesting things.



The platform where people would have boarded the train or gotten off

One part of the station was the landing area where people would have gotten on and off the train. It had artifacts significant to the era or travel, a conductor’s well worn jacket and cap, a train crossing sign and much more. I took fewer photos here.



Might remember these signs?



One of Trier’s picture books

This building is part The Blue Mountains Public library, part archives and part historic train depot and more history of the area. One other thing intrigued me there and that was a poster “Add an Animal” in recognition of Walter Trier.

Trier, an animation artist, once courted by Disney, was a forerunner  of Canadian picture books for children. Andrea Wilson, archivist at the Depot, told me he’d turned down Disney because he wanted his own name on his work. If he were to work for Disney, his art would have the company’s name on it. Therefore he went on to publish his work independently.

Wilson shared a wealth of information on Trier and pulled several of his picture books for me to look at. When she asked about my interest in picture books, I told her I’d published a picture book too. She was interested in seeing it and when I got a copy from the car ( always carry books with you), she decided to purchase a copy for the library. She also asked me to draw an animal for the poster. I declined the opportunity to draw an animal, but I was delighted in her interest in my book.



story of a sinking boat


Andrea and the young woman at the front desk also showed me a picture book by an artist and writer from Clarksburg, not too far down the road. We’d be going that way though I didn’t know if we could look her up that day. That coming weekend was a Fall Open Studio, where this artist and many more would be participating. We’d be heading home the next day and still had several places we wanted to take in before leaving the area.

Our intention was to check out someone’s new home in Clarksburg. We felt it unlikely that we’d see them today as they were still in the process of moving last furniture from Waterloo.

We drove down the highway and  took the road into Clarksburg. It’s not that large a place but with no more information other than the address Betty gave us, we were at a loss. And so, I asked. The woman I talked with had lived in Clarksburg all her life and didn’t know the street, which I found a bit surprising. But she did think of someone in town who might know. As stores were still open, she directed me to the hardware store and a gentleman who’d been running it for many years. He was able to help us, showed me a small map of the area and gave me a few directions.

Andrea, at the museum, knew Clarksburg and said people often called it ‘Artsburg.’ Which it was. I didn’t count the shops on my trek to the hardware store and back to the car, but I saw several shops that were galleries or names of artists.

We found the  Smith’s new home, alright, and who should be sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee in hand but Ron. Betty came out when she heard us arrive. She’d sent a text, but we’d been off driving and seeing things and I hadn’t checked my phone. As it worked out, they’d just finished unloading the van and were sitting down to relax. We had a tour, then I had a quick tea with Betty and we were on our way. Next to Thornbury, at their recommendation, to see the fish ladder.




The fish ladder. Fish have to jump out of the water to the next level. We saw them swimming around and jumping and evidence of some that didn’t make it.

After this stop, we made our trip back to Owen Sound, first to go back to the B & B and then out for dinner, wrapping up our interesting and eventful day. We’d have one more breakfast at the B & B before packing up and heading out. I looked forward to our next visit with our genial hosts.


October 16, 2018 at 11:50 am 2 comments

Blue Mountain, we’re on our way …



Our plan, day two of our getaway, was to head for Blue Mountain and a particular historical site. We started early enough with breakfast with our B & B hosts, Gord and Maggie, with a good, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. The table was set in a lovely fashion with not a thing lacking. We had omelette, croissants, bacon, home-made grape jelly and more, but we also had company at breakfast.

A couple from Holland were spending their vacation biking around Ontario. Industrious people they are, both in the psychology field back in their home, they are used to biking and only occasionally use the car they share with their family. They’d already seen much of Ontario and were heading to Blue Mountain later that day. Wednesday, they’d travelled 80 miles by bike to stay at Between the Maples for a night. We had wonderful conversations with them about their work and travel.

Maggie and Gord saw them off and we continued our conversation. There was no reason to rush as we had a full day before us. We learned that our hostess was also of Dutch origin and her husband was a geologist by profession. Now retired, they were running this B & B. Gord had been busy taking apart the front windows and painting outdoors before the weather got too cold for such work.

With much thanks for a tasty breakfast, we set off for the day. We’d head out the highway in the direction of Blue Mountain. It would be good to be in the area again. The only time I’d been there were two Toastmasters district conferences in late fall and there’d been no time to tour.

The leaves on the trees were beginning to turn colour, with just a hint of colour thus far. We saw farms and fruit stands for this is an apple growing region.

On our way, following the side of the lake, I noticed a beautiful waterfront in the community of Meaford, so we decided to stop there awhile. What caught our eyes next as we parked were the strange fellows up on the lamp posts. A man walking his dog asked if we were there for the scarecrow festival that weekend. We weren’t but it sure looked interesting. He told us about the Hoedown that would take place on Friday night. We’d be heading home before that, but we agreed that it sounded like fun. It does appear that they have a lot of fun here.


I thought, later, how they reminded me of a  field in Cape Breton on a trip where they had a field with scarecrows, but that lot was for sale and it’s unlikely the scarecrows are still there. These were fun and they seemed to climb every lamp pole in the park.


Scarecrows in so many places


My husband, ready with his camera too


Signs of what’s to come on the weekend and later on  the museum wall. Maybe next year we can come for the hoedown or the parade.


At the side of the museum



Even indoors there was a scarecrow, but he had no pumpkin head. Probably rules about that.



A crazy quilt like the one Grandma H. used to make.


Former Speaker’s Chair used in parliament


From the archives, local history, and a little information about the chairs

There was so much in that museum that we could have spent much longer. We’d soon need some lunch and so we headed outdoors to take a few more pictures and be on our way.



People must have a lot of fun assembling these guys


Boats in the water and boats waiting

The people of Meaford take such pride in their area. The gardens were nicely kept and the waterfront was beautiful and the water so clear.




Nicki, keeping the gardens pretty

I spoke with a young woman named Nicki, who was pulling weeds in the flower beds, and remarked on the beauty of the park. She, too, asked if we were staying for the festival. I said we’d be heading home the next day. She said, “Maybe next year.”

By now it was well past lunch time. We’d head in the Thornbury direction and look for food and stopped one more time on the other end of the Meaford to  get a photo of more scarecrows.



In case you’re wondering, we did actually make it to Blue Mountain that day. I’ll save that for the next post. Watch for it.




October 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Off to Owen Sound

My husband and I took a little get away to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We chose to go north to Owen Sound and stay in a Bed and Breakfast there and booked it ahead.

We had a clear day for the drive, some cloud cover but a lot of sun too. Listening to Stuart McLean from Vinyl Cafe series helped pass the driving time too and then different scenery and new places along the way. I looked forward to the time away from household responsibilities to see different places. We were not disappointed.



Between the Maples B & B


We’d reserved for two nights at Between the Maples Bed and Breakfast on Second Street in Owen Sound. Having arrived close to the noon hour and too  early to check in, we thought we’d first locate the B & B. Having seen the house on the internet site, we knew we were in the right place.

We headed back to the downtown to look for a bite to eat. A helpful staff member at CAA Travel in Owen Sound had mentioned that the Artist’s Co-op had a lunch bar, so  after finding parking, we went in search of it.

I gathered steps on my Fitbit that day and it was nearly 1 pm by the time we sat and waited for our lunch to be served. Len enjoyed his soup and I had a tasty salad. We looked at the art in the co-op briefly since our metered parking would soon run out. We’d come back.



Birgit’s Cafe



Artist’s Co-op

We wanted to spend more time looking around so we fed the meter with quarters and headed back, first stopping at the music store we’d seen on the way. On our previous time passing the store, we’d met the owner and chatted with him. This time we entered Music & More and looked around.

“Back for a ukulele?” his wife asked.

I wanted to see what they had and so entered a long conversation with owner and musician David Fromager about the newer ukes that they sell to schools and people wanting them for their children or grandchildren. I already had one but I had my eye on those coloured ukes I’d seen at Arts Abound in St. Jacobs more than a year ago.  When we left the store, I had a uke tucked under my arm and some picks for playing.



 my new uke

As we still had time, we headed for the artist’s co-op again in the McKay building and looked around at the artist’s offerings—paintings, art cards, mugs, pottery, things made of wood, and textile arts too.

Then it was time to go and check in at our B & B. With the address now in our GPS, we drove  there and knocked on the door.

It’s a lovely two-storey home across from Kelso Park. Gord and Maggie greeted us, gave us a small tour of their place and showed us our room. We talked about breakfast options, especially with regard to my husband’s special needs. There was time before finding supper to relax awhile and get settled in.



That evening we went to East Side Mario’s out on the other side of the city and enjoyed a tasty pasta dish. The sun went down outdoors as we ate. The dinner was filling and with no room for dessert, we paid our bill and left. Thinking we’d like some snacks along for the next day, we went to a grocery store nearby and purchased a few things before returning to the B & B.

With the new uke in hand,  I looked up a chord chart on the internet to refresh my memory, and tried out my new instrument a bit before bed time. I thought of my grandchildren who already enjoy music and how I might teach them to play, if they wished to learn.

Thus ended the  first day of our little holiday.




September 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm 2 comments

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