Old Family Stompin’ Grounds – June 19, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at  “About” before continuing)

Hi there –

Well, we’ve been having a pretty interesting time and I survived my close contacts with the Scots of Kincardine. I was afraid the Man’s Scottish blood would start to churn being around all those kilts and stuff but he contained himself. Yesterday we continued touring a little more south towards Goderich, a town our Queen said was the prettiest town in Canada.

Over the last few days the Man had noticed that the Lady was going through Thrift Shop deprivation – slurping down her meals so she could read the bottom of her plate, going through her suitcase reading the labels on her clothes, scraping paint off the motel furniture, etc. So . . . driving down the highway the Man spotted the Lakeside Flea Market, Farmer’s Market and Bakery. We drove into a parking lot of a huge converted barn. The Man KNEW he was in trouble! He tried the old ‘dim view’ tactic. He told the Lady that it looked like it was sure going to be a great place to go through so we should hurry in. The Lady was so excited that she forgot she was still wearing her sunglasses. Inside we walked through quite a nice bakery area into the actual barn. There were ten – seventy foot long, seven foot high shelves loaded with endless thrift shop merchandise. There was another room about ½ the size. A closed section about the same size absolutely packed floor to ceiling with more stuff and then an upstairs just a little smaller than the downstairs also full. The Lady kept saying how dark it was and the Man said, “it sure is”, hoping to get out a little quicker. Unfortunately, the Lady soon realized she was wearing her sunglasses so we had to spend even MORE time there. After going through EVERYTHING, the Lady bought one small item but she had experienced the thrill of the hunt so was feeling much better.

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Lakeview Flea Market

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Lakeview Flea Market

We then drove into the very old town of Goderich and wouldn’t you know it – there was a big outdoor flea market. We spent about an hour there and then toured the town. Goderich is an old port town that was a terminus for the CPR. It still has a large grain elevator facility but now also handles salt (the Sifto Salt Company) and calcium chloride.

The town was designed in a wagon wheel pattern with the town square in the center and streets radiating out from it. We are still amazed by the old Victorian architecture. The houses are beautiful!

The beaches and parks in Goderich go on and on down the coastline with a lighted boardwalk running the whole length. It was a warm stormy day yesterday with a strong swell but our walk was great.

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As we left the lake to head inland, the Man told me about his great-great grandfather, Alexander Henderson, who was an engineer on a ship called the Tinto that sailed on Lake Erie. Unfortunately he died when the ship caught fire.

Burning of the Propeller Tinto -Seventeen Lives Lost July 17, 1856 – (From the “Kingston Daily News – 1856)

“On Thursday evening, seventeenth instant, the propeller Tinto, from Montreal, bound to Lake Erie, passed Kingston harbour about half past eight o’clock, and went about three miles from nine mile point, to the horror of all on board, fire was discovered in the fire hold, where a quantity of wood was ablaze and the flames with great fury and rapidity spread to the upper cabins in proximity to the hold, rendering their extinguishment utterly hopeless, and causing the utmost consternation among the crew and passengers. The only small-boat attached to the vessel was immediately manned, and four women, three children, some of the crew and passengers embarked; the boat was then lowered from the davits and, owing to the rapid motion of the vessel, on striking the water immediately capsized, and all the unfortunate inmates were engulfed in the lake, to the number of seventeen, none of whom have, up to this time, been heard of, and are doubtless all drowned.”

Alexander Henderson, Engineer, was listed as lost.

As we headed inland we must have found the Road Kill Highway of Canada -raccoons, woodchucks, seagulls, doves and many unidentifiables. The Man said it would make quite a wildlife stew – he’s so gross.

Last night we ended up in Stratford which is known as both the Shakespeare and Pork  Capital of Canada. It is another beautiful Ontario town again set in the surrounding farmlands. No Shakespeare around though. This morning we headed into Cambridge (Galt) where the Man’s great-great grandparents, the Blains, arrived in 1839. The Man delivered a portrait of Richard Blain to the city archivist. Historians are definitely very reserved, if not comatose, people. Though not showing it, he did seem to appreciate the painting. Cambridge is an old milling town that used waterpower from the river to power the mills. Again, many, many old stone buildings – beautiful houses, large churches and a very nicely restored town center.

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Cambridge Archives Stairway

From there we headed northeast to what used to be Mulmur. The Lady’s great-great grandparents arrived there about the same time, 1830, from Ireland. There is a very good museum in the area but we arrived too late today so we are staying in Alliston which is the Potato Capitol of Canada (not sure where that leaves PEI). Tomorrow we’ll head back to the two houses of Mulmur and then the museum and finally the Mansfield/Mulmur cemetery to try to solve some missing genealogy/family info. Mulmur is only about 150 kilometres from Cambridge if you aren’t being driven by the Man who is getting map-reading directions from the Lady. Interesting the families would be so close to each other.

The countryside here is very rolling farmland – both grain and cattle. Some nice rivers and a lot more trees, white pine, sugar maple and oak. All very green and beautiful.

We’re still working on our route east but I’ll let you know.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Ontario | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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