First Crossing – Second Journal by Evelyn J. Steward

First Crossing – Second Journal

After arriving in Toronto, meeting my friend and her parents and sisters, we hung around the apartment, having our special breakfasts. Cereal and fresh raspberries with squirty cream ( new in those days- common enough now) that did not squirt. Then very thinly sliced streaky bacon fried until crisp. We probably had sausage, egg and tomatoes as well ( the things we do when young!)

My friend had a tall boy friend who had her car painted lilac, her favourite colour. One evening we visited his sister and younger brother. We enjoyed a mini party as I believe a birthday was being celebrated.

One small journey was to High Park, not far from Toronto Zoo ( which I visited the next time I flew there). We got into small row boats. I am not a fan of water, so when her father said the lake was bottomless and someone rocked the little skiff, I was very scared. On reflection, I think it was a joke.

My friend, her boyfriend and I drove 600 miles, almost a straight road, to North Bay. Lovely weather so the mileage was not so bad as the car was a convertible. We stopped by some gigantic boulders, pretending to climb for photographs. I think they have been lost to time and moving.

On the other side of the Highway, we parked at a picnic place. Exploring through the trees, there was a small dam with clear water. Just past this was a waterfall. I remember sitting just below the top, gazing at the great view. A sandbar that seemed to go from the base of the waterfall to the far distance. To the right, the sand disappeared beneath a lake. But I could see a lazy column of camp fire smoke climbing into the sky, twisting and twirling as it went. It was in the far distance. I love this memory.

We travelled on to Nippissing, a small town south of North Bay, the destination of our road trip. Her boyfriend’s cousins lived there. We had a meal and late in the evening, we were taken out to the woods to hunt bear.

My friend and I were hoping not to meet or hurt any bears. For us it was a giggle, an adventure. Apparently bears frequented the local Municipal Dump. The cousin brought his hunting gun though, just in case.

The woods were pitch. The torch did little to dispel the dark. Our clothing was really unsuitable and was snagged on thorny bushes. Our shoes were clogged in muddy puddles. Come dawn, we finally arrived at the dump. No bears were seen. Back at the house, a couple of hours in bed, breakfast then the short drive into North Bay.

It wasn’t a large town. The area we entered was not liked by local Canadians as there were many Native guys, drunk and lounging around. I felt really sorry for them. After that, we drove back to Toronto.

Our main trip was the drive to Niagara Falls. I was to be driven there again on a much later holiday, but this time I do not remember the drive. However, it was a beautiful day. The Falls are tremendous. Powerful, loud, awesome. Worth going to see if you are in that area of Canada.

We took the trip on a boat called ‘The Maid of the Mist’ (of which there were two), right up to the Falls, as safely as possible. Dressed head to toe in a black rubber raincoat we still got a little wet. We chugged along the river, passing The American Falls, a rock break then The Bridal Veil Falks, still on the American side. Loads of high rocks passed by until you come to The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. The feeling you get is like pressure but such an awesome pressure, you realise just how puny you are.

Later we walked along the ‘promenade’. I heard knocking and decided it was someone working on boat building, maybe across the river in the US. So hard to describe the place then. Not crowded and so peaceful down towards The Rainbow Bridge, the bridge from Canada into America.

Lots of wonderful memories of far off times. I was to go twice more to Toronto.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. May,2019.

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