I had decided to wait and not leave on Labour Day Monday. The obvious reason was to avoid the traffic congestion. Another reason is that I could afford the extra day. Finally I wanted to take my time driving back and visit a couple of Muskoka towns. The pugs would have a walkaround new places, sniff new scents and hoist a leg to let others know they had been there. But first we had one more leisurely basking on the beach. Dublin decided the firewood bag was oh so comfy.
The first stop, just north of the Brent highway entrance was Mattawa. It is located on the Mattawa river which flows into the Ottawa River. The name Mattawa is Algonquin for “meeting of the waters”. The town had built an engaging waterfront park with views of the surrounding forested hills.
The park also included a marina deck for small boats.
All around the town were carved wooden statues dedicated to the explorers, voyageurs and indigenous people who were important to the area. This is Big Joe Mufferaw who I first heard about in a Stompin’ Tom Connors song. Similar to America’s Paul Bunyan, Big Joe was a legendary lumberjack and folk hero.
The Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who the Mackenzie River is named after, passed through Mattawa on his journey across Canada to the Pacific. The first east to west crossing of North America (north of Mexico) in 1793.
Anahareo, a Mohawk Canadian writer, conservationist and animal activist.
Mattawa was in important fur trading outpost with a Hudson’s Bay Company store. Families came to settle in Mattawa because of this trade, including fur trader Louie Bastien. By this point Raisin and Dublin had seen enough statues.
Our next stop was the town of Huntsville. I had spent a year working in Huntsville when I was a teenager. As the saying goes, a lot had changed, including a waterfront park. It is a tourist’s delight as a resort town.
We found a cafe at the north end where the pugs could sit out on the patio. We stopped for lunch at The Seven Main Cafe. Soup and sandwich on fresh, homemade bread. The pugs loved it.
Of course we had to stop at the Tom Thompson memorial. Couldn’t leave the Muskoka without saying good bye to Tom.
Then it was time so head down Highway 11 for home. We only stopped the once for a pug pee break. But the traffic was light and we made is safely home – until the next adventure.