Monday, August 7, 2017

Niagara Falls is the reason for the Trent Severn Waterway

July 25, 2017
Evening shot rainbow over the falls
        It’s a very busy season in the lakes of Ontario, so getting a rental car was a bit of a problem even with a reservation but we ended up with a fancy 4 door Ford 150 which John liked and I didn’t have to get in and out of for very long.  Then we found out how much fun Toronto traffic can be.  As with any city on a shore, there are limited ways in and out, and Toronto has over two million people wanting to do that every day.  We ended up in Niagara Falls, Canadian side which is about 50 miles south of Toronto and the same north of Buffalo, NY.  A walk along the plaza above the falls on our way to dinner was our first glimpse of the falls.  With all of the water they are getting in the area this summer they are really impressive.  Dinner was classic Toronto area.  Well recommended Fish and Chips, in a hole in the wall café with no atmosphere, owned by Pakistanis.  The sticky pudding was good and all the fancy restaurants were in the big chain hotels. 
As close as you can get 

July 26, 2017
      Got the boat ride to the Falls.  Lots of people but they are really organized about the way they handle everyone.  Got soaking wet, but a real close up look at both the American and Canadian Falls.  Then we headed back towards Toronto by way of Niagara on the Lake, a lovely little town and not so much the Coney Island of Niagara Falls.  Saw a huge dam and power plant, golf courses and stopped at a couple of wineries.  They are everywhere on this peninsula.  They explained that the climate is very good for wine and it looked like lots of other truck farming.  They make a special wine called Ice wine which they can do because the grapes can freeze on the vine early enough what they haven’t turned sour.  A taste was good, like a sweet sherry, but it’s really expensive.  We found a lovely winery where we could have a really gourmet lunch on a patio overlooking the vineyard. 
        Then stopped at the really big commercial lock on the Welland canal which is now the main shipping route out of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic.  It was amazing to watch a huge ship 300 feet long doing exactly the same thing that we were doing.
A really big ship on the Welland Canal, lock 7

July 27, 2017
New Toronto City Hall and plaza
        Stayed at an airport hotel the night before and headed into Toronto for a bicycle tour of the old downtown area.  We had breakfast in a café in the middle of a big park in Toronto and then saw lots of old ethnic neighborhoods that had been “saved” from the Expressway, by Jane Jacobs when she and her sons came to Canada to escape the Vietnam draft.  Now they are being taken over by rich people and funky old houses are selling for millions.  Oh, the Life and Death of cities.  Our guide has a second generation Moroccan and very knowledgeable about the history of Toronto.

July 28, 2017
    I left John sleeping and caught the airport shuttle to go to Portland for a reunion. We had gotten good news that all of the work had been done on our boat and it was back in the water, so he headed back of Orillia and slept on the boat and played golf for three days.  The reunion was great, seeing women that I had lived with 50 years ago, reminiscing and catching up and a nice but short visit with David and Julie.

July 31, 2017
     John picked me up at the airport after fighting Toronto traffic again and we got back to the boat.  Trip to the grocery store, and return the car and we were off for our last two days on the Trent Severn Waterway.    We only sent about 20 miles and tied up above lock 43 for the night. 

August 1, 2017
     Through that 45 foot drop and on to the amazing Great Chute.  This is not exactly a lock, it is actually a cable car that the boats float on to, then the straps, like a crane lift secure the boat and we get pulled out of the water and down tracks to the water below.  Originally they didn’t have time to build a lock at this spot before the First World War, then when they were modernizing the locks in the 1960’s they started building a lock and realized that some kind of eel that was on one side or the other could populate the other lakes if there were a lock so they rebuilt the railroad and kept it. I have been trying to make videos of the canals and their workings, but I found some that were much better on YouTube.  This one is the big Chute.
this one is a lift lock that we did
 One more lock on the Trent Severn and we were in Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.  We went to Midland, ON that night.  Stayed in a nice marina and rode bikes into town to a good restaurant. 

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