Friday, 14 August 2015

On...tario finito

I suppose it was inevitable. Then again it might have been sheer random chance, but there is something highly unlikely in the timing. When I crossed the border between Ontario and Quebec and the end of the Waterfront Trail and at the beginning of the Route Verte, it began to rain. Not terribly hard but enough that I dug out my soft shell jacket and switched to my second best pair of biking gloves. To be fair, there had been a light shower near Lancaster and more rain had been threatening, but it seemed a little peevish of the weather to mark my return to Quebec with only the third time I had needed rain gear on this trip. It felt a bit like the ending to Passport to Pimlico when after a prolonged period of sunshine throughout the movie, when it is officially announced that Pimlico is back in England the skies open up with a torrential downpour and the temperature drops visibly!

We had left Long Sault relatively late in order to not have to wait too long at the Lost Villages Museum which Mummy wanted to see. When we got there, we were still early, but from looking in the windows we could tell that it was a country museum of old bits and pieces rather than a museum about the villages that were moved to make way for the Saint-Lawrence Seaway. Mummy remembers going to see it being built in a special steam-hauled excursion train. Consequently, we didn't wait for the museum to open to go inside.
 Just before downtown Cornwall, the Waterfront Trail took us by the R.S. Saunders power station, which posted the enviable sign of 6160 days since the last time lost accident. The Library were I work doesn't have that good a record! There was a visitor centre nearby which a worker hauling big water bottles on a cargo trike suggested we visit. It did feature some information about the Lost Villages but given the nature of the beast, its spin on the displacement was of the upbeat, "we did it for the overall good and we moved the houses, built new schools, etc. and we eventually apologized to the Mohawks" variety. There was a lot more about the generation of electricity, eel ladders and the building and the opening of the Seaway.
The museum even had the chairs that the Queen and then Vice-President Richard Nixon had sat on for the event. It also had a "detonator handle" you could push to start a film clip of a cofferdam being blown up. The Saunders the dam had been named after had been a huge booster of the Seaway project. Unfortunately, the man who'd been mayor of Toronto was killed in a plane crash shortly after the megaproject was begun. Much of his work had been shaming the reluctant Americans into getting involved. In the parking lot, I noticed there was a spot reserved for electric vehicles, complete with a recharging station.
As we entered Cornwall, we passed under a bridge being dismantled, girder by girder. As we were crossing a small bridge while leaving Cornwall, I noticed a log structure in the stream with three turtles on it of two different species. One had a very smooth looking shell, the others much more rough.

Since Kingston, Mummy had been desirous of seeing a ship in the Seaway. Her wish was granted near Summerstown when the oceangoing ship the Federation Hudson hove into view. We stopped to watch her go by. From the maple leaf incorporated in the company logo on her smokestack, I assumed she was a Canadian vessel. In writing this entry, I have learned she is registered in Hong Kong but owned by Fednav, a Canadian company based in Montreal.
Once across the border, there was a distinct change in bikepath design. For one thing, it no longer favored the waterfront. In fact, when the Route Verte encountered a bit of suburbia, it went away from the river on a rather tortuous (but well-paved) path designed keep cyclists from bothering drivers. One section ran through a forest near a marsh. There was suddenly a lot of very small frogs jumping off the bikepath. I hope I didn't hit one. So, here I am having done as much of Ontario as I am likely to do as part of AMUAM JuNITO and only a very little left of the whole thing. Something on the order of 30 kms as once I get to Ste Anne de Bellevue, I will be on roads I have ridden from home!

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