Archive for the ‘Sainte Marie Among The Hurons’ Category

Sainte Marie Among the Hurons

July 27, 2009
The Chaple @ Sainte Marie Among the Hurons

The Chapel @ Sainte Marie Among the Hurons

Our most recent trip in our ‘cottage on wheels’ took us to the Midland-Penetanguishene area and to Sainte Marie Among the Hurons.  This site has been a favourite of mine since I was a kid visiting, what was then, an active archaeological dig.

If you’ve never been to Sainte Marie, I highly recommend a trip.  The site has been reconstructed from the archaeological record to give visitors a representation of life in the 1640’s.  French Jesuits founded Sainte Marie in 1639, in an area that was populated by the Wendat nation.  The Wendat are commonly referred to as Huron, a name given to them by the French.  Sainte Marie existed for only 10 years, but in that time became a self-sufficient mission and a little piece of France in the wilderness of the New World.

The site gives insight into the lives and interactions of the Jesuits, the Wendat and the French labourers at Sainte Marie at the time.  Interpreters are dressed in historical costumes and take part in presentations throughout the day.  The public is invited to participate in several of the presentations and to watch and be entertained by others.

Sainte Marie Among the Hurons is a great day out for adults and kids alike.  I love museum experiences like this because everything you see, hear and smell has context within its surroundings.  It makes for a much richer learning experience.  A place like this has more impact than an artifact in a case with a little sign that says scissors c. 1844.

Lafontaine Resort Park

July 25, 2009

DSC01127What a month.  I think we’ve been camping as much as we’ve been home.  I’m not complaining.  It’s been great!  This week we stayed in Lafontaine Resort Park, which is a Castle Vacation Parks property.

Lafontaine Resort Park, near Penetanguishene Ontario, is conveniently located for day trips to attractions like Wasaga Beach, the Wye Marsh, Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, Discovery Harbour and the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre (in case you’re interested).

This RV's Plate Dates Back to 1971

This RV's Plate Dates Back to 1971

When we first arrived, at the park, I was a little unnerved.  Our site was a bit on the small side and many of the sites we passed, on the way in, seemed run down and dishevelled.  Upon closer inspection, however, I realized that the park itself is well maintained.  Most of the sites are rented on a seasonal basis and many of them have been home to the same trailer for years, even decades.  The dishevelled appearance, of some of the individual sites, is the product of years of use and accumulated eccentricity.  It actually speaks very well of the park that so many people have stayed for so many years.  One RV was still plated with an annual license plate from 1971.

I am a very big fan of the eccentric and outlandish and this park was a treasure trove.  I think it was our first, full strength, no punches pulled trailer park experience.  I’m tempted to do a separate post of pictures I took of trailers in this park.  In fact, I think I will.  Stay tuned.

As I mentioned, our site was a little smaller then I like, but we only had neighbours on one side and they were only there in the late evening, so it wasn’t problem.  The other issue I had with the park was the distance to the bathrooms.  During the day the distance wasn’t a big deal, it was an opportunity to rubberneck at the funny trailers.  At night, on the other hand, it was a long, dark, lonely hike.  Duncan got lost on the way back from the bathroom the first night and ended up going for a ‘Dunc Walk’ from one side of the park to the other. (Note: a Dunc Walk is a long meandering odyssey that results from or in getting lost.)  He got to see a lot of solar lights.

The playground at Lafontaine was fantastic.  In addition to the usual climbers, swings and slides, they had a set of tire swings that were made to look like horses and cows and a big wooden train to climb around, on and through.  Liam was disappointed that the train didn’t go anywhere, but you can’t have everything.

There's a Train in the Playground!

There's a Train in the Playground!

Tuesday night we went for a wagon ride with a bunch of the other kids in the park.  There were only a couple of other parents on the ride.  We went with Liam because he’s too little to go alone.  It was a lot of fun.  I love things like that; I’m a bit of a kid myself.  The wagon, which was pulled by an old International tractor, (Go International!) took us through the woods to areas of the property we would not otherwise have seen.  At one point Duncan and I had to admit that we didn’t know where we were.  It was a nice way to spend the evening and it killed the time between supper and bed.

Sainte Marie Among The Hurons

Sainte Marie Among The Hurons

From the park, we took trips to Wasaga Beach and Ste. Marie Among the Hurons.  We actually got a discount off our admission to Ste. Marie because we were staying in Lafontaine.  I’ll talk about Ste. Marie in greater detail later on.  I love it there so much I think it deserves a little post of it’s own.

Wasaga was fun.  It’s such a lively place!  Liam got dressed up in his little swim trunks and PFD and took a dip in the lake.  He was nervous of the water and didn’t want to go in too deep.  He had more fun playing in the sand with Daddy.  It looks like Liam may be a land-lover like me.  There’s a great splash pad, right across the road from the beach.  We took Liam over there, on our way back to the car, to clean off some of the sand.  He played there until he was shivering and exhausted.  Then we bundled him in a towel, took him back to the car and went in search of Chinese food.

All in all this was a great trip, possibly our best so far.  We’re quite settled into our cottage on wheels now.  It’s really becoming a comfortable home-away-from-home for us, with most of the comforts and amenities.  We just need a maid service to follow us around.  The park grew on me over the course of our stay.  I would probably stay there again, if we decide to do another trip to the area.  I’d still like to take Liam to the Wye Marsh and Discovery Harbour, so there may be some further exploration of the area later on.