05 Apr

O Canada, Our Home and Native Land

We modified the tail end of our road trip and decided to spend more time in the country of our birth. It was two weeks packed full of love before reaching our final destination in Nova Scotia. A memorial for a cousin who left us too soon. Reconnection with family and quality time with old friends. After being on the road for a year, the visits filled our hearts and reminded us how much we cherish our relationships. There were also plenty of cute kiddies to enjoy without taking them home! Bruno has not been child-proofed.


We crossed the Canadian border at Niagara Falls with Bruno shivering in his boots. A trek across Eastern Canada was in the cards. Over 5 years have gone by since we’d been back around these parts. Some places, like Collingwood, Ontario were new to us (Toronto’s #1 ski destination).


The memorial for my cousin brought the family together from across the country. She was loving and warm and seemed to always be smiling… definitely too young to have her future pulled out from under her. We stayed with family in the Toronto area and got our first hint of the Canadian winters we used to know.


Driving 2 hours north of Toronto takes you to lake country. Specifically, the town of Collingwood, which is home to Blue Mountain Ski Resort. We were promised a quiet night in with friends who claim not to indulge heavily any longer. This of course, turned into a rager of a night with an incredible Greek restaurant on the mountain, a ping-pong bar that played curling matches on their big-screen TV’s, and one final stop at a local town bar where everyone knows your name.


Our next stop was a 5-hour drive east to Ottawa, Ontario – the nation’s capital. Also a great place to live and raise a family. We stayed 4 nights with University friends, who took time out of their precious weekends to show us around town in the frigid temperatures. Such is life in the Great White North.


East Block of the Parliament Buildings in the background.


In less than 2 hours, we reached the West Island of Montreal, Quebec where I grew up. We stayed with family and took walks through the old ‘hood (a cushy suburb). We enjoyed quiet dinners at home, catching up with my little cousins who’ve grown into young men. We met friends for coffee, for breakfast, and for crêpes. It was so nice to stroll the familiar city.


Montreal, Quebec (Yvan from Renens)

30 minutes off the Island of Montreal, we made our way out to the sleepy town of Chambly, Quebec to visit more of my family. A quick stop into a local store reminded us that very little English is spoken off-island. We would have to switch the language track in our brains from Spanish to French. It consisted of a lot of smiling Oui‘s and Merci and then we left, groceries in hand.


Travis has a grandfather that lives in Harvey, New Brunswick, just outside Fredericton and 8 hours from Montreal. The snow kept us indoors sponging up Grandad stories, although we did take a quick stroll through the numerous family artifacts in the barn on the property.


Home sweet home in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Travis grew up in this beautiful log cabin that his parents built and live in today. We enjoyed home cooking and the musical family did not disappoint; guitars and even a snare drum made an appearance when the extended family got together.


Down the street at Travis’ grandparents farmhouse, we were able to get up under Bruno for the first time in a while. Three generations shown here: Dad, Travis, & Bruno!


We spent a week in Nova Scotia’s capital city of Halifax. Generous friends of ours were out of town and offered up their downtown apartment. We caught up with some of Travis’ heavily-bearded high school friends (in full Canadian winter mode), we shared a few beers and hosted meals in our apartment.

NS040925022 Queen Mary 2 Halifax, Nova Scotia September 25, 2004

Halifax, Nova Scotia with Queen Mary 2 (Westin Nova Scotian)

I sat by our second floor window in the mid-afternoon on a Tuesday. I had a mug of tea and Travis asleep in my lap under a quilt. It was pure bliss. This is just one of many types of days I imagined for myself in our post-working life.