Tag Archives: ontario

A Toronto Reunion Tour

Emily Michelle Tinsley

We have a lot of family and friends in Southern Ontario. More than we could possibly see in one trip, but we did our best to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a long time (in some cases over 10 years). It was a whirlwind 10 day trip, but it was great to see people again, meet their families for the first time, and catch up.

Streetcar Ride

We rented a car for the first few days and visited all the suburban friends in Milton, Kitchener, Mississauga, and Grand Valley.

Mairy, Jane, and Astrid
Story Time with Janice
Auntie Marg and Astrid
Ben, Astrid and Adam
Sophia, Evelyn, and Astrid

Then we settled into an Airbnb in Toronto for a week, with more friends and family to visit. It was our first time meeting our niece Layla (one of the main motivators for the trip to Ontario).

Happy Moms, Happy Kids
Waterloo Mall Reunion
Mini Waterloo Reunion with Kids
Happy Family

There wasn’t a lot of free time, but we did get to explore the Toronto waterfront and take Astrid to the ROM.

CN Tower
ROM Dinosaurs
Toronto Bike Share

Astrid did really well with all the new people, the rushed days, the lack of consistency, and the time change. She was pretty hyper at bedtime most nights, but once we got her settled she slept well. We did almost all of her naps on the go in the car seat or stroller. She really enjoyed playing with the other kids, especially the babies, and she held her own with the older kids too.

High Five Sylvie

If you live in or near Toronto and we didn’t get a chance to see you, I’m sorry. You’ll just have to visit us in Vancouver (where you don’t need to wear toques in May 😛).

More pictures on Flickr.

10 Days in Ontario

Cow at the end of the Rainbow
After our week in Manitoba, we flew to London (Ontario) for Leanne and Andrew’s wedding, and then took the train to Toronto to visit family and friends there. Astrid travelled really well and had no problem sleeping in different beds. She didn’t like the heat when we arrived in London (over 30 C) but other than that she did really well with all the change.

Wedding Party Leanne and Andrew had a lovely wedding surrounded by towering trees. Emily was a bridesmaid, so I was a single parent for long stretches. It gave me new respect for all the hard work Emily does while I’m at work. Keeping her fed, entertained, and clean with only two hands can be a challenge.

Bridesmaids and Bride

Wedding babies

The trip represented a lot of firsts for Astrid – the first train ride, first meal at a restaurant (we were nervous, and she had a freak out at the end, but she did well enough that we took her to another 5 sit down restaurants), first night sleeping in a crib, and her first shower. We didn’t know how she would nap without her swing or be entertained without her toys, but we improvised and learned a few new tricks along the way.

Train Ride
1st Train

1st Brewpub
1st Brewpub

1st Mobile Time
1st Crib

1st Fancy Dinner
1st Fancy Dinner

Wedding Dress
1st Party Dress

Continue reading 10 Days in Ontario

Canoe Tripping in Algonquin Provincial Park

Canoe Tripper
I’ve now completed the quintessential Canadian experience – a 5-day canoe trip through Algonquin Provincial Park. It was my first overnight canoe trip and one hell of an experience. This trip had it all – wildlife, epic portages, constantly changing weather, and great friends who were still fun to be around after 5 days without bathing.

Algonquin Canoe Trip

The hardest part of the trip was the portaging. Carrying all of your gear and a 50 lb canoe is hard work. Some days it felt like we spent more time canoe hiking than paddling. We had two portages of around 1500 meters that were particularly painful. Luckily, the route we took had us descending Devil’s Staircase, a long hill that would have been gruelling to portage up.
Portaging Portage Fail

Before we left, I publicly declared that the trip would only be a success if A) Everyone survived and B) We saw a moose. The mosquitoes took some blood and there were a few cuts and bruises, but I declare victory on both counts.

Most days we started paddling around 10 am and finished around 2 pm. We took frequent breaks to eat and relax. We would often bunch up the canoes and snack on the lakes (blissfully bug free).
Tina Paddling Break Time Algonquin Canoe Trip Algonquin Canoe Trip

I was impressed with the backcountry campsites. They all had large cooking areas, with fire pits and log benches. Often there was a view of the lake and a breeze to keep the bugs down. Away from the site there was space to pitch tents, hang bear bags, and a box toilet. It was nice having time in the campsites to relax, eat, and stretch.
Wizard Swimming Time Group Yoga Relaxing

Most of us packed for the hot, muggy Ontario summers we remembered, but we ended up with a lot of Vancouver weather – cool and drizzly. I would have preferred warmer weather, but the cooler days were good for paddling. We only had one heavy rainstorm. It only lasted for an hour but it soaked everyone and everything and created one messy portage. Luckily the sun came out after and a nice fire helped to dry out our gear.
Michael's Pants are on Fire!

It was a great trip for unwinding and reconnecting with nature. Each day was focused on getting to the next campsite, setting up shelter, and eating enough calories. Hard, physical work but blissfully simple.
Algonquin Sunset

Our route covered over 50 km, including 14 lakes and 11 portages. The longest portage was 1640 meters; the shortest only 60 meters.
5 Day Canoe Route via Smoke Lake
Day 1: 10 km / 3:30 hours (Smoke Lake to Tanamakoon)
Day 2: 8 km / 2:20 hours (Tanamakoon to Head)
Day 3: 11 km / 4:15 hours (Head to Kirkwood)
Day 4: 12.5 km / 5:30 hours (Kirkwood to Big Porcupine)
Day 5: 13 km / 3:15 hours (Big Porcupine to Smoke)
Note: Times include breaks for eating and swimming. We took lots of breaks except on Day 5 when we rushed to get back so some people could make it to Toronto for dinner.

More pictures on Flickr.

Manitoulin Island

After spending a week in Winnipeg and attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Emily and I rode a Greyhound bus for 24 hours to Espinola, Ontario. 24 hours is a really long time to be on a bus, but I was happy there weren’t any weirdos on the bus. I even managed to sleep for a few hours.

In Espinola, Emily’s mom picked us up and we drove to lovely Manitoulin Island for 5 days of cabin relaxation. The highlights of the trip were:

  • Playing Euchre and Rook.
  • Hiking the Cup and Saucer trail, a strenuous but rewarding hike along an escarpment. It took us 3 1/2 hours to hike – 2 hours up and 90 minutes down.
  • Canoing and kayaking in Lake Huron.
  • Building Inukshuks along the coast.
  • Having lots of time to read.
  • Looking at the artwork at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. I really liked the paintings by Barry Ace.

The lowlights:

  • Swimming with water snakes. After the I saw one swim by me, I didn’t spend much time in the water.
  • Being frequently grouchy from lack of sleep and hunger.
  • Spending too much time in the car driving around the island. Manitoulin Island covers a huge area, and it takes a long time to drive around.
  • The crappy meal we had at Roosteraunt. My gnocchi was literally swimming in oil.

Patio Dinner Manitoulin Bridal Veil Falls Cup and Saucer Hike Manitoulin Extension of the Niagara Escarpment Jumping the Saucer Emily Paddling Kayak Time inukshuk Man Stone Stacking My Inukshuk Creation Having a Blast Sunset Artist Manitoulin Sunset