With summer coming to an end I thought I would recap all the things we managed to get done in our first Ontario summer.
The general theme for the summer was HOT! Right from the start we had one heat wave after another. Particularly memorable was that while I was in Mexico, it was hotter in Ottawa.
We got a couple of good camping trips in this summer and explored some of the nearby parks. The campsites at Murphy’s Point were amazing, quiet and accessible. Trying to scare away a bold raccoon that grabbed an apple from the chair next to me and watching the fireflies glow in the brush all around our tent was pretty cool. We did some swimming in the pond, made sandcastles on the beaches and rented a canoe a couple times to paddle around Big Rideau.
Perhaps the biggest personal achievement for me this summer was learning to sail a boat. Taking the course was a reminder just how important it is to continue to step outside the ordinary routines and find new things to learn and be exposed to. The sailing class experience resulted in a cascade of further learning and ambition. Next year I’m going to be taking lessons for larger boats, VHF Radio certifications and probably CPR and survival skills. Continuing to push into a wider variety of skills is something I will make part of my annual goals every year from now on.
The road trip into southern Ontario was filled with meeting new people, seeing relatives and old friends. It was a chance to see a region that I never got to explore during the 3 years I was in University. We saw Niagara Falls, spent a day on Centre Island, did some wine tasting, and relaxing on the amazing beach at Sandbanks provincial park. Overall it was a jam packed week of trying to squeeze everything in.
Beyond the bigger trips and such we also found time on the weekend to do a lot of exploring. We did one day in Montreal, and spent some time in places like Cornwall, Perth, Smith Falls, Brockville, Belleville, Gatineau, and Kingston as well as visiting most of the major museums and a couple of the big historical sites.
After all this there is still so much more to explore. We have not yet ventured too far into Quebec (mostly due to lack of confidence in speaking French – another thing to learn) and there is still lots of events that we never made it to this summer.
I guess after living in a couple of cities across Canada the biggest lesson I have learned is to take advantage of all the experiences around you while you can. People have a habit of not visiting the tourist attractions in their own backyard and for sure the place that I have the biggest gap in my geographic knowledge is where I grew up in Newfoundland. It sucks to leave a place and have regrets about the things you didn’t get to see or do.