With the weather gods perfectly cooperating, we embarked on another Ontario excursion during the weekend of August 2 and 3, 2008. This time we headed towards southwestern Ontario. Our first stop was in St. Jacobs (the former Jakobsstettel) where we admired the various organic delicacies offered in the Farmer’s Market. Colourful peaches, cherries, zucchini, various vegetables, fresh bread and cured meats were enticing the tastebuds and the camera. Mennonite farmers were displaying their wares, sitting next to their black wooden buggies. From the market we headed into the village of St. Jacobs where we took in fascinating information about the Mennonite Story in the local Visitor Centre. Then we visited the Mill which today houses a variety of shops and galleries. Even the silos of the mill have been converted into display space.
After a hearty lunch we continued on to Cambridge, an important town with impressive 19th century architecture. We admired the various churches and bridges over the Speed River and took in several performances of the Cambridge Folk Festival that was going on. Then we set off on a drive through tobacco country past the town of Simcoe to arrive at our destination for the night: Port Dover.
Located on Port Erie and formerly a sleepy fishing village, Port Dover has a population of about 6,000 people and over the last few decades has become a popular getaway destination. The waterfront features an attractive pier with a lighthouse and we enjoyed our dinner at the Beachview Restaurant. Enjoying a traditional dinner of local perch and pickerel we overlooked the sandy beach and the palm trees that get planted here every spring after spending the winter safely in a greenhouse.
For the night we retreated to the Clonmel Estate B&B, an impressive mansion with six guest rooms dating back to 1929. Hosts Bob and Connie Lawton graciously welcomed us and treated us to a delicious breakfast the next morning. Bob even showed me his model train set that is hidden away in the vault in the basement.
The next morning another gorgeous day of bright sunshine and blue skies greeted us. We started our drive back to Toronto, and made frequent stops along the way. Our first stop was at the Spencer Gorge, part of the Niagara Escarpment, just outside of Dundas where we admired Tew’s Falls and hiked out to Dundas Peak from where we had a perfect view of the Hamilton and Dundas Valleys. Then we drove through very wealthy waterfront areas in Burlington and stopped at the Burlington Beachway where thousands of people were looking to cool off in the northwestern corner of Lake Ontario. We also took a walk around Burlington’s recently renovated waterfront and listened to a jazz trio that was playing standard favourites. After several stops along the waterfronts of Oakville and Mississauga where we glimpsed a nice distant view of the Toronto skyline we headed back into Toronto. There we capped off the evening with a delicious and filling Schnitzel dinner at the Country Style Restaurant in the Annex. Distributed by Tubemogul.