Lit On Tour’s IFOA Ontario 2016 season saw author events in 15 locations across the province.
As the staff person who toured to all of these locations, save one (sorry to have missed you, St. Catharines!), I was fortunate to have been able to visit parts of the province I had never seen before. Throughout our touring, our hosts pointed out local natural landmarks, or we found some interesting sights on the way.
Here is a brief tour of TEN of these Ontario sights, in no particular order:
1. Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay
For months, I had heard tell of this natural wonder in Thunder Bay and seeing this rock formation – which really does look like a giant asleep on its back – myself was just incredible. The mythology around this jutting peninsula is also equally fascinating.
2. Stuffed Animal Fall Picnic Display en route to Midland
Seeing is believing with this sight, and since we drove straight by this incredible display of stuffed animals (mostly bears) having a autumnal tea party, I was the only one in the car to witness it. Thankfully, this Toronto Star article proved I did not imagine huge stuffed animals perched on a tractor and seated around a picnic table on someone’s front lawn to amuse my fellow passengers.
For proof, you’ll just have to drive along County Road 93 yourself. Keep a sharp eye out on your right hand side when you hit Waverley, Ontario or you’ll miss it!
3. The Knox Presbyterian Churches: Woodstock & Stratford
Having two venues with the same name in different cities was, I admit, a little confusing. Seeing both of these local landmarks, I was struck by their beauty and history. Both had dark wood interiors and gorgeous side rooms.
4. Owen Sound & Grey Union Public Library, Owen Sound
We got to partner with a number of libraries this season, and I don’t mean to play favourites, but the library building in Owen Sound was such a noteworthy mix of old and new. I’m also a sucker for ivy-clad buildings. Look at how much ivy there is!
5. Brant Street Pier, Burlington
On a brief walk before the event, we stumbled upon this pier off Lake Ontario with some of the funkiest waterfront architecture. The pier mimics the shape of waves or, considering it’s a very windy spot, wind.
6. Kakabeka Falls, en route to Oliver Paipoonge
Our trip to Thunder Bay and the neighbouring town of Oliver Paipoonge would not have been complete without a stop to this breath-taking regional landmark. As a southern Ontarian, I’ve gotten pretty used to referring to Niagara Falls as THE falls in the province, but as you can see, Kakabeka is also pretty spectacular. Well worth the stop before our author event in O.P.
7. Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, Parry Sound
Now I’m not a hockey fanatic, but every time I’ve heard the name ‘Bobby Orr’ it’s either been in connection with the phrases: ‘Stanley Cup’ or ‘Parry Sound.’ Getting to experience, even quickly, the impressive sight that is the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame during our visit to Parry Sound (which is conveniently housed in the Charles W. Stockey Centre, where our event was held) made me feel a little more Canadian.
8. Heritage Homes, Port Hope
Seeing the vast number and types of Heritage Homes in Port Hope can help you understand why this Ontario city has been named “one of the finest inventories of historically important homes and buildings in Canada.” Rows upon rows of heritage homes greet you as you drive in off Hwy 401, and continue until you reach the two heritage districts in downtown Port Hope itself.
9. Great Western Park, Windsor
As a group of Torontonians we were so used to having water always to our south – so we were quite disoriented when we arrived in Windsor to find water, the Detroit River, and Detroit itself to the north. To help get our bearings, we took a stroll through the park that hugs the downtown Windsor-side of the Detroit River and happened upon a green space bursting with monuments, statues and dedicated gardens. I could have stayed for several more hours just reading all of the plaques.
10. Western University, London
Walking to the building for our event at the University of Western Ontario, we were absorbed in the steady stream of students flitting from class to class. One could easily get lost in a haze of caffeine-fueled midterm mayhem on this sprawling university campus, and there are a lot of gorgeous buildings to take in too!
By guest blogger Rebecca Hallquist, Executive Assistant at IFOA. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @mecsbecs28