A Ride through Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario


Because our riding friends had visited family who work in the medical field, it was agreed that we shouldn’t risk exposure until they’d done a quarantine period, so we did a few short rides around our community on our own during the warm days. By the time their quarantine period was done, the weather had turned quite nasty – rainy and cold most days.

This week we were suffering from Cabin Fever! When we heard the weather forecast for Friday – sunny and hot! – we made plans to take our bikes to Brighton and tour Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Unfortunately our friends had already made other plans for the day, so we struck out on our own after an early lunch. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

By 1:00 pm we had our bikes unloaded at a little parking lot and were ready to ride. As often happens, we were questioned about our bikes by a man sitting in his car and he gave us some tips about what we should look for in the park.

As close as we have lived to Presqu’ile Park, the only time we’d ever been there was for a retirement party for a friend who had worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources, several years ago, so it was an entirely new adventure.

Presqu’ile Park is located at the southern side of Brighton, Ontario, along the shores of Lake Ontario. It is a popular place to camp, whether in an RV or a tent. Paved roads wind through it, connecting the many camping areas. We explored all of them and a few unpaved trails as well.

This rocky beach is a place where many people have built some amazing rock sculptures.

Many leaves now lay on the ground, but the colours were still brilliant with the sun reflecting off them.

We discovered a history we had no idea about before this tour.

There is a story posted near the lighthouse about the dangers of the lake in the fall and the number of ships that ended up wrecked near the shores.

The shipwrecks

The long-gone  dance pavilion and hotel: At the end of a side road leading to a spot called “Day Use Area” there is an inlet and a marshy area.

It’s a pretty spot looking over the lake, but we were surprised to find a billboard that described a hotel and dance pavilion once being in the area.

I wasn’t able to get a picture that could be seen close enough to read clearly here, so I’ve transcribed it:

“In the end of the 1800s pioneer society was changing. Increased  prosperity let to a growing interest in summer resorts and leisure activities and Presqu’ile was seen as an ideal location to pursue these activities. During the summer, tents started springing up on small lots along the bay shore between Salt Point and the lighthouse. As families returned year after year the tents were replaced by small wooden cabins.

In 1891, ferries and other boats began bringing vacationer to the point from Rochester and other cities along Lake Ontario.  In 1905 ,Peter Covell of Brighton opened a summer hotel and dance pavilion that was located at the base of the large dock you can see down the shoreline I front of you.  In 1913, Grant Quick opened a larger dance pavilion, the Presqu’le Pleasure Palace, across the road from the hotel.  This dance hall proved very popular and a year later Covell sold the hotel to Quick.

Over the years additions and upgrades were added to the hotel, with electricity reaching the peninsula in 1923. In 1937, a landing strip for small aircraft was opened on the field close to here to ferry paying guests to the  hotel. In 1939, the old wooden dock in front of the hotel was replaced by the current concrete dock.

Dances were held at the pavilion six nights a week from mid-June to mid-September. Men paid $1.00 per evening or $10 for an annual pass. Music was supplied by a six to eight member live-in band, many of them well-known in the era. In addition, annual regattas with swimming and boat races were highly anticipated by the cottagers.  On Sunday nights, large crowds gathered at the pavilion for a singsong.  At the last singsong of the year, Grant Quick had the audience stand, join hands and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

After much research we determined that the location would have been behind the brush seen on the right had side of this picture.

It was nearly four o’clock when we had our bikes back on the carrier and ready to head home, feeling invigorated, and carrying a bit of new knowledge.

For more information about camping, walking or biking in the park visit the website.

Sadly, it looks like our biking season is coming to an end, but the purchase of these iGo e-bikes from Green Street Bike Shop in Peterborough was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. We read that the City of Peterborough has offered to pay for snow tires for a number of bikers who want to try riding the trails in the winter, but having spent the last seven winters in Arizona, we just can’t see ourselves adjusting that well to the cold weather!

 I fear we will become arm chair travelers this winter. Future blog posts will be re-runs, or Memoirs, until better ways of dealing with COVID are found and we are free to travel once more.

Hope you will come along for the ride.

Five Things to Do in Kaslo, British Columbia


I’ve just booked my annual trip to British Columbia to leave in a few weeks. This time I will spend my time in Kaslo relaxing with family and enjoying the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, which has become a much bigger event than it was the previous time that I was there for it, ten years ago. I’m looking forward to it and hope to have some new stories to share.

In the meantime, I’m posting this blog that I drafted some time ago, giving you a little more insight into Kaslo, my favourite little town in the Kootneys.

In 1899 the City of Kaslo was branded “The Lucerne of North America.” This small mountain town, just west of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, lies between the peaks of the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges, offering serenity for those who seek it, and lots of activity for those who prefer to be on the move.

  1. Camping: There is a good sized Campground right by the shore of Kootney Lake.When we stayed there a couple of years ago we had plenty of room for our motor home. The lot wasn’t quite deep enough to accommodate the bike trailer, but we were able to unhook and leave it at a convenient spot nearby, at no extra cost. The price included electric, water and WiFi, and use of the dump station. The owner was very helpful in finding us what we needed.

IMG_20150921_150820442 (2)

  1. Dining, Shopping, Entertainment: Within a short distance from the campsite is the main street where several restaurants, coffee shops, a hardware store, a grocery store, a pharmacy, clothing stores, and a Credit Union are located. Much of the food is organically, locally grown when in season. One of our favourite eateries is the Blue Belle.

IMG_20150921_140133911 (2)

P1010256 (2)

IMG_20150925_124714995_HDR (2)

Patio at Blue Belle

  1. Accommodations: If you aren’t into camping, there is a very nice, fairly new hotel, aptly named The Kaslo Hotel, on the main street, and several Bed & Breakfasts throughout the residential streets.Hotel (2)
  1. Historical Attractions: Also situated on the main street, moored at the dock, is the SS Moyie Stern-wheeler, an historical, restored paddle boat that used to transport passengers, up Kootney Lake, the only way to get into the small communities along its banks at the time. During the summer and fall seasons there are open tours, and often there are shows in the lounge. On one trip we enjoyed an excellent performance by two young, accomplished violin players. Like most things in Kaslo, it is operated by volunteers and maintained through donations.

 

IMG_1600 (2)

SS Moyie

A short walk up A Avenue (Hwy 31), the volunteer-restored Langham Cultural Centre has an Art Gallery on the first floor where the many local artists have the opportunity to exhibit their work. On the second floor is a history of various buildings in Kaslo, and the story of the lives of the numerous Japanese people who were interned in Kaslo during the 2nd World War.

IMG_2959 (2)

  1. Biking, hiking, paddling: Throughout the hills of the Kaslo area there are great roads for motorcycling.

DSCF0339 (2)

And along the shores of the lake and the Kaslo River are many trails for hiking
and biking. Another volunteer group, The Trail Blazers, has worked tirelessly
over the years to create and maintain the trails along the river bank, including
the building of two wooden bridges across the river to allow access to both
sides.

Look for more details about this in my next post.

Kootney Lake is a popular place for kayaking and canoeing, too.

Nice Day for a Bike Ride to Casa Grande


After a busy week of Pickle ball, bocce ball, ukulele practices and performances, and a block party, we took Sunday to take off on a long over-due ride on the Boulevard. The weather was perfect, a little over-cast keeping the sun out of our eyes and the temperature comfortable for wearing jackets and helmets.

We headed out Hwy 87 towards Casa Grande where we’d hoped to catch up with some friends who are in an RV Resort there. We stopped at Zipps Sports Grill in Chandler for some lunch along the way. The turkey burgers were tasty and the sweet potato chips rather than fries added a different flavour and texture. While there, we attempted to contact our friends, without success, so when we reached Casa Grande we continued on to the Casa Grande Ruins Historical Site and took the tour of the remains of a Hohokam community dating back to 300 AD.

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins

We eventually got a message from our friends saying that they were out at another park on a hike, so when the hour long tour was over we started back in the direction we’d gone. We had one scary moment when, just ahead of us, a red car pulled out to pass another and was coming straight at us at full speed, only a few car lengths away! Jim pulled to the shoulder while motioning for the driver to stay to our left. I held my breath as he sped past us. I’m sure we were three abreast at least for a couple of seconds. Maybe we need to look at neon orange jackets and helmets!

Back in Mesa, we stopped at Waldo’s BBQ for a feed of ribs before returning home. It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday,