Hello From Toronto Part 5 Novice Golf Driving Through The Kawarthas A
Little Off Road Mountain Biking Preparing To Say Goodbye

Hello From Toronto Part 5 Novice Golf Driving Through The Kawarthas A Little Off Road Mountain Biking Preparing To Say Goodbye



It is​ unbelievable how nine days can just fly by. Today my brother, sister-in-law and​ our two Austrian friends are scheduled to​ fly back to​ Graz, Austria, via Vienna. There has been an​ increasingly palpable sense of​ sentimentality in​ the air, in​ light of​ the fact that this​ wonderful time is​ coming to​ an​ end alarmingly quickly.

It's also amazing how many activities one is​ able to​ cram into a​ short amount of​ time. I wanted to​ give them a​ really good taste of​ everything that I love about the city of​ Toronto and​ my new country. So occasionally I put a​ few too many things on​ our plates and​ we ended up racing through a​ few of​ the activities. on​ the whole though, I think our European guests had a​ fabulous time and​ they fell in​ love with Toronto, just like I did, many years ago.

Saturday all six of​ us went golfing to​ a​ little par-3 golf course in​ the East end of​ Toronto. None of​ my Austrian guests had ever golfed before, so a​ couple of​ days earlier we started with a​ few buckets of​ balls at​ the driving range, followed up by an​ indoor putting practice session​ on​ the carpet. Saturday we would get to​ try the real thing. The attempts at​ the driving range didn't look all that great, with balls spraying all over the place, to​ the left and​ to​ the right. But on​ Saturday afternoon, another gorgeous day, our four Austrian guests performed quite admirably and​ only lost 2 balls in​ the water hazard.

They really enjoyed golf, a​ sport they had never even dreamed of​ playing, but the Toronto area with its several hundred golf courses, many of​ them reasonably priced, made it​ easy to​ give this​ sport a​ try. All preconceived notions about golf only being a​ sport for​ old people went out the window, and​ they enjoyed the challenge of​ trying to​ sink the round little ball in​ the hole.

Sunday came our second big excursion: a​ driving tour through the Kawartha Lakes. I had only planned two major driving tours: a​ wine-tasting tour through the Niagara Peninsula, and​ a​ second one to​ the lake district of​ the Kawarthas. We started by driving east on​ Toronto's 401, a​ 12 to​ 16 lane highway whose size duly impressed my European visitors. Then we headed north-east through rolling farm country to​ Peterborough, a​ rural university town with a​ population​ of​ about 70,000. From there we drove north into the Kawarthas, a​ gorgeous lake region​ set in​ the rocky landscape of​ the Canadian Shield.

Our first stop was Buckhorn, where we watched the mechanics of​ lift locks of​ the Trent-Severn Canal that links Lake Ontario with Georgian Bay. We saw how several boats assembled inside the lock following by an​ opening of​ the sluices and​ the water level equilibrating itself with the level of​ the lower portion​ of​ the river. The Parks Canada lock supervisor explained the whole process to​ us and​ it​ only took about 10 minutes for​ the boats to​ reach the lower level.

From Buckhorn we drove through rocky and​ marshy countryside to​ the quaint village of​ Bobcaygeon​ where we took an​ extended stroll. We had a​ nice waterfront lunch, looking across to​ the marina, seeing the the boats come in​ an​ out of​ the canal. Particularly our Austrian friends Luis and​ Isabella love boating and​ seeing the many houseboats on​ the Trent-Severn Canal gave them a​ few ideas for​ future vacations in​ Canada.

The lunch was delicious and​ we took a​ little stroll around this​ charming town, admiring the waterfront parks and​ picnic facilities that allow great access to​ the water. From Bobcaygeon​ we drove on​ to​ another little picturesque country town: Fenelon​ Falls, whose name comes from a​ waterfall in​ the middle of​ town that has been used for​ electricity generation​ since the 1870s.

After a​ sizeable line-up we picked up a​ few delicious cones of​ Kawartha Dairy ice cream and​ strolled over to​ the bridge over the falls and​ then down to​ the little peninsula that sticks out into the river. From there you​ can look into a​ rocky gorge where both sides of​ the river are surrounded by high rocks.

Again, we watched boats being lifted and​ lowered, this​ time in​ lock 33 of​ the Trent-Severn Canal System. this​ is​ another town with a​ beautiful little park right by the locks with lots of​ opportunity for​ barbeques or​ simply for​ a​ relaxing snooze in​ the sun . Time was flying by and​ by this​ time it​ was already 3:30 pm so we had to​ start our return to​ the city. We only took back roads and​ my brother lost count of​ the numerous golf courses that dotted the landscape. it​ was a​ nice relaxing drive through rolling countryside and​ we made it​ back to​ Toronto in​ less than 2 hours. All four of​ my Austrian guests had fallen in​ love with the Lake District and​ the prospect of​ another vacation​ in​ Canada to​ explore the waters north of​ Toronto seems ever more likely.

Yesterday was their last full day in​ Toronto, and​ we took our bikes out for​ a​ spin​ one more time. Since we all love water we rode down to​ the Eastern Beaches again, and​ leisurely explored the waterfront. We watched some lawn bowling, and​ one of​ the participants kept coming over to​ us to​ explain​ the rules of​ the game to​ us since none of​ us was familiar with this​ sport. My guests commented several times on​ the friendliness of​ people in​ the stores, restaurants, in​ line-ups and​ even I myself was surprised at​ the approachability of​ Torontonians, often known as​ a​ more reserved breed of​ people. But we truly kept having very positive experiences, equally with people employed in​ the service sector, as​ well as​ with regular citizens, taking a​ stroll, playing a​ game of​ lawn bowling or​ going for​ a​ walk with their dog.

of​ course we admired the inukshuks by the beach, a​ public play area for​ adults with rocks of​ various shapes and​ sizes that are used by passers-by to​ create interesting stone sculptures. We watched a​ few tense points at​ the Kew Gardens Tennis Club, and​ checked out the picturesque Kew Gardens park itself. From there we headed west past the beach volleyball facilities to​ the little peninsula west of​ Ashbridges Bay which always offers a​ fabulous view of​ Toronto's skyline. We took in​ the tranquil atmosphere and​ soaked in​ the sun for​ a​ while before we started our return back along the waterfront. My European visitors commented several times how incredible it​ is​ to​ have all this​ publicly accessible land​ right along the waterfront and​ how in​ some secluded spots you​ don't even realize that you​ are in​ a​ major metropolitan area.

To get back up to​ our house we had to​ climb back up from the waterfront and​ this​ time we chose the Glen Stewart Ravine, where a​ little brook has carved a​ valley into the slopes leading down to​ the waterfront. it​ is​ a​ densely forested area and​ when you​ are in​ there it​ feels like you​ are in​ a​ remote forest somewhere, not right in​ the middle of​ Toronto.

Once back at​ our house, preparation​ got started for​ our final goodbye barbeque and​ we had invited a​ few extra friends to​ join​ us to​ give our Austrian guests a​ proper sendoff back home. We enjoyed some excellent food and​ they sampled a​ few more varieties of​ Canadian wines and​ beers, all of​ which they had commented quite favourably on. We didn't sample much restaurant cuisine since my brother is​ a​ talented chef, but the fresh ingredients that he purchased in​ Toronto's various markets made for​ some truly delicious dinners.

in​ the evening we took one more spin​ in​ the car, first to​ revisit the Distillery District at​ night. Luis had wanted to​ buy some beer glasses at​ the Mill Street Brewery as​ a​ souvenir, but unfortunately the brewery and​ restaurant were closed. The whole Distillery area was a​ little quiet, not surprisingly, since it​ was Labour Day, the last official day of​ summer, and​ the final day of​ respite before school would begin​ again. We continued our driving tour with a​ little spin​ through downtown and​ up Yonge Street before we turned east on​ Bloor Street. We crossed the Bloor Street Viaduct and​ arrived on​ the Danforth, Toronto's Greek area. as​ always, Greektown was quite busy and​ people were milling about. We sat down on​ the patio of​ one of​ our favourite restaurants and​ enjoyed some Greek snacks before we headed home after another long day, all of​ us a​ little sad, commenting how nine days can pass so quickly.

Today we'll have to​ take their four rented bicycles back and​ around 2:30 we'll have to​ start the trek to​ the airport. It's been a​ fabulous 9 days, an​ extended sleepover with four great people and​ we won't forget this​ holiday for​ a​ long, long time. We are already hoping for​ another reunion, either in​ Austria, or​ back here in​ Canada, to​ deepen this​ fabulous connection.




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