I thought I’d save you the pain of having to read through detailed accounts of our movements in Ontario’s 1000 Island Region by just listing out some things we did – essentially my back to school essay “what we did on our holidays”.
On Tuesday, we went to Kingston, primarily for a tour of the old Kingston Penitentiary. Closed in 2013, it still looked like it was in use, at least from the outside. We had tickets for 5pm and had a bit of time to kill so had a quick mooch around town. Aside from spending a small fortune in the glass gallery, we didn’t do too much other than discover that parking is in short supply and is very expensive. Expensive is a relative term; parking in Chatham is mostly free, so anything seems expensive to us.
Back at the prison, we had a 90-minute tour with a young and very enthusiastic guide who had the multiple skills of holding open doors, walking backwards and speaking at the same time, and keeping the large group moving. We also met some former Correctional Officers, hauled back in to tell some stories. From “Anyway” Verne to “Don’t Look at the Graffiti” Joan, they were great to listen to. The jail itself as much as it had been, bar the inmates of course, and was a really interesting place to visit. If you’re ever in Kingston, Ontario I can recommend it.
Also recommended is the Penitentiary Museum, across the road in the Warden’s House. The guide and the COs spoke about it, so on Wednesday we paid a visit. Great old house and some great old history.
Kingston is also quite a lively place for touristy stuff like boat trips and castles, Fort Henry being the biggest. It also boasts some great restaurants, and it was to Atomica that we repaired for an early evening meal; great vegan (and non-vegan) options, and cocktails if that floats your boat. there were plenty of other places to choose from in town, too.
We had a monster ice cream, vegan for the missus, from Mio Gelato and spent a little while around the old station; very nice on a not-so-sunny day. Kingston has a lot of buildings like those in Montreal and Quebec City; Steep pitched, stone roofed and very solid. If you’ve ever been to Boulogne Old Town in France, you’ll know what I mean. Kingston will get another visit from us, I think.
On Thursday it was Ottawa’s turn. A 90-minute run northward had us in the Nation’s Capital. My inability to follow the clear and concise instructions from the Satnav meant that we had a little detour around the Rideau Canal and Elgin Street, but we eventually washed up on Main Street at a vegetarian and vegan restaurant called the Green Door. Wow, was it ever popular? It’s a buffet and you pay by weight, so people tend not to take what they won’t eat. Mr. Picky Eater found plenty of good grub while Mrs. Vegan was in seventh heaven, especially with the desserts. Two puddings MD? We might have dawdled there a while longer only the line at the front of the place was growing and we felt we shouldn’t hog our table. As I said, it’s very popular.
Then it was over to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, across the river and in the Province of Quebec, ooh la la. There are loads of museums in and around Ottawa, but we went for this one because it covered a broad spectrum of interest. It’s in a really funky building down by the river which looks across to Parliament Hill; very inspiring for us Canadians. The museum is huge, so we were selective about what we saw, but Brian at the ticket office helped us there and gave us a suggested route. There’s only so much you can take in at a place like that, but it’s another thing for the list of recommendations.
Heading home we caught a short but violent storm, ran into the Ottawa rush hour and experienced some crazy Quebec taxi drivers and more than a few odd goings on with Ottawan drivers. Still, we had enough time to catch the Chip Truck in Gananoque before it closed, so a great day was rounded off with some A La Carte Fries. Brilliant!
Tomorrow we travel, this time south of the border. No, not Mexico, but Upstate New York. Look out for the travel blog.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog