Day three with our Tennessee visitors, had us up early and out the door for a road trip to Midland, Ontario. Midland is located in the Georgian Bay area, the backpack of Lake Huron. Many farming families settled here in the 1840’s though it was officially founded in 1871 when the railway came to the area, bringing more settlers, and eventually became a hub for shipping and the lumber and grain trade. For more history on Midland see this link.
Numbers rise over the summer months when tourists flock to cottages, as well as day tripping it to do the gorgeous 30,000 Island boat cruise, as well as touring St Marie Among the Hurons, a living history outdoor museum, where the Jesuit missionaries lived among the Huron/Wendat people from 1639-1649. There is also the beautiful Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre for the outdoor enthusiasts, with many a great hiking trail to meander down.
We weren’t able to incorporate the latter two mentioned sites as part and parcel of our tour of Ontario since we only had one day in Midland, and a two hour (and a bit) trek each way to and from the house. Maybe on another visit, wouldn’t you say, Tennessee friends?!
But we were able to start our day with a picnic lunch at Midland harbour, and then a little walk up and down the main street, hitting the wonderful gem of an organic coffee shop, called Grounded Coffee. Our only disappointment was not getting a pic outside (or inside) this shop, since it became, from then on, our mission to hit all the specialty coffee houses on our tourism Ontario trip for the next thirteen days. This one was definitely a great beginning of that mission.
After some caffe macchiotos (I hope I have the name right?), we were headed to the harbour for the 30,000 Island boat cruise. I felt as part of our touring Ontario, we needed to get to big bodies of water as much as possible. There are just so many gorgeous spots along the lakes and bays of Ontario that it’s hard to choose just what ones to hit for visitors. But I think we weren’t wrong in choosing Midland as an ideal spot for a great Canadian experience.
The boat tour was a two and a half hour journey around some of the beautiful 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay.
We had a stowaway seagull along for the ride with us, often coasting in the air for a bit directly behind the boat, then resting on the flag pole for part of the ride.
We dreamed of owning some of the serene island cottages.
Seeing the rock formations that make up what we call the Canadian Shield, was magnificent, no matter how many times one gets to see this up close (this was my third boat ride in Midland.) Georgian Bay sits on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield.
Departing and returning to the harbour, passengers are able to see the beautiful mural by Fred Lenz depicting the time period of the Jesuit settlement and their work with the Wendat Huron people.
Once on land again, we decided to head over to a neighbouring town, and popular tourist destination, Penetanguishene, or as we Ontarians shorten it to, Penetang.
Again, a picturesque town, rolling downward toward the waterfront on a grand slope.
And in my opinion, I found this harbour even more picturesque than Midland’s (even though Midland is pretty, don’t get me wrong), especially with that wonderful view of St Ann’s Roman Catholic Church towering off in the distance.
What a neat idea they had of crafting red canoes as flower pots along the water’s edge.
And there were two replica gunboats from the War of 1812 on display in the harbour.
Our one grand disappointment in this town was the fish and chip shop down at the harbour. Picturesque and all, but if you’re wanting the real stuff, head up the street to the other fish and chip shop on the main road (though I didn’t try it so I’m only relaying what I’ve been told by friends). We opted for the scenery, looking out over the harbour, but with that came the sacrifice of prefabricated fish and chips. But it sure was pretty sitting right by the harbour for it.
Following this, we headed left out of the harbour onto Beck Street, followed it to Fox Street, turned left and headed to Broad Street, made a right, then another left onto Jury Drive, and voila, we were at Discovery Harbour.
Discovery Harbour is the living history centre of the British Naval base built to protect Upper Canada after the war of 1812. There are tours of the historic boats. There’s also the King’s Wharf theatre on site here, with special movie features showing throughout the year.
One rah rah for Discovery Harbour is their commitment to serve people with physical disabilities, allowing their site to be fully accessible. They offer assisted devices for persons with disabilities, accessible washrooms and ramps, free admission for a support person bringing a person with a disability, as well as welcoming service dogs in all their buildings. For more information on traveling here with a person with a disability, click here.
And wouldn’t you know, it was like it was pre-arranged that this incredible street performer would strike up The Tennessee Waltz just as we passed her. What delight for our Tennessee guests to hear this gift just for them!
After some pics and a little walk around this area, we decided to visit St. Ann’s Church in the heart of Penetang before our long drive home again. The visit there was even more meaningful, having learned on our boat tour that the rock for this magnificent building was taken from some of these 30,000 islands and hauled by boat to the building site. Amazing!
We arrived home 10:30 that night, weary, sunburned (I thought we should have worn hats on board), and full of terrific memories of our Midland & Penetang excursion.
And because this is Monday and I’ve been so awful at keeping up with my Monday Make posts, I will do something I promised the girls, share my yummy Yolo recipe with them before too long. The recipe comes from none other than The Oh She Glows Canadian Vegan Cookbook by Angela Liddon.
For the caramel–1 C pitted soft Medjool dates (I would double this recipe to get more, or larger yolos out of it, so make that 2 C!)
1 1/2 tsp peanut butter or other nut butter or seed butter (again, double it)
pinch of fine-grain sea salt
For the chocolate coating— 1/4 C (1/2 C if you’re doubling) dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp coconut oil (1 tsp if doubling)
Flaked sea salt or chia seeds (optional, though I’d say put on the sea salt since the sweet and salty taste together is amazing!)
Process the pitted dates until sticky. Add the peanut butter and salt and process until combined. The mixture is very sticky but that’s okay, it’s how it should be.
Put the sticky mixture into a bowl and freeze for 10 mins uncovered. The reason for this is to make the caramel easier to form into balls. Line some parchment paper on a plate and roll into small balls and place in the freezer again for 10 mins to firm them up.
Make the chocolate coating by melting chocolate chips and oil over very low heat. When most of the chips have melted, remove from the heat and stir until all of it is smooth.
Remove the caramel balls from the freezer and roll them in the melted chocolate using two forks. Set the balls on the parchment, stick a toothpick in each one, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Freeze the balls for 20 mins or until the chocolate is set. They taste best straight from the freezer. I place mine in a ziplock, toothpicks and all, placing at the top of our deep freezer so they’re easily accessible and don’t get damaged or crushed. It’s a good and bad thing to place them where they’re so easily accessible. Just means you have to make them more often. You’ll not be disappointed with this scrumptious recipe of Angela’s!!
Happy Monday Make to y’all! Stay tuned for Day 4 with our Tennessee guests celebrating Canada Day with us.