Go West, Day 30 – Sarnia, ON

Author: Larry St Aubin

From Tobermory, I decided to head down to Sarnia and see Lambton county. First time I’ve been in this area. It’s Canada Day so plan to explore the be festivities. It is still dark so no morning walk – I have them do their business at the campsite – making sure no bears are around.

We acknowledge that the Chippewa, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples, referred to collectively as the Anishinaabeg, inhabited these lands at the time of transfer to the Crown by treaty. Lambton County was part of the Huron Tract Purchase, which was transferred under Treaty #29 in 1827, and also includes lands associated with the Sombra Township Purchase transferred under Treaty #7 in 1796, and Long Woods Purchase transferred under Treaty #21 in 1819. We also acknowledge the earlier Indigenous people who travelled these lands in the time of the Wampum treaties.

Got an early start. We were about 10 km south of Tobermory when I saw the red sun. I thought it first was mist but mist doesn’t cover the sun. That’s when I realized it was the wild fire smoke that people had been talking about.

Soon I was driving through it – like a thick fog. I slowed down because I couldn’t see beyond the bends. It lasted until we were almost in Kincardine.

Kincardine. Decided to explore the town for a bit and see if there was breakfast available. We headed down to Dunsmoor Park on Lake Huron. There is a beach pavillion and the Kincardine singers were setting up to do a Beatles concert. Eve is wearing her Canada Day bandana. Greta has been waiting all year to wear her “Happy Canada Day” dress.

On the way to the park, I had passed a corner block that has some interesting houses. Went back to take a further look. “The Mansion” offers apartments.

This little place is across the street.

And on the other corner. 3 very different styles. Kincardine seems to have a few of these architectural gems.

It is early morning on Canada Day. Everything is shut. But “The Bruce” restaurant is open. Google Maps takes me to Queen St. – which is completely closed.

Plenty of parking spaces though. I start walking toward the restaurant. There is a city mural that reminds us the importance of the Kincardine Harbour. Established 1900, coal, timber, salt, local grain, fish and furniture passed through. The mural shows a passenger steamer.

The waitress at The Bruce was very welcoming. There was a patio that looked out on the lake but the smoke covered the view. I chose to stay inside.

I ordered extra sausage for those left behind in the car.

We couldn’t leave without seeing the lighthouse – which is also pictured in the mural. With a busy shipping port in the 19th century, a light was needed to guide the ships. The first light tower was in 1874. Seven years later a lighthouse was built into the hill. Sailors could see the light 30 km away. In 1922 an electric system replaced the old. In 1970 it was automated. It is still in use today and we listened to the fog horn sounding through the wild fire smoke

In another quirky photo op, I put Greta on Paddy’s Stone. It’s been around for awhile and had a well kept little garden around it. Apparently Paddy considered it a meteor and brought it to this location.

The Insignia Hotel. For our last night of the trip I booked a room at a 3 star hotel. Big King Size bed, bath robe, Nespresso machine and floors that easily clean accidental pee puddles. According to one resident it was in a derelict condition for years. Then it was closed for 2 years while extensive upgrades were made.

Centennial Park Trail. It is way to hot for the pugs to go out. I leave them with the A/C on and head out to the trail.

While heading down to the trail I see that the Royal Canadian Legion is behind the hotel – and they have a tank. It and the plaque were placed to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy.

The trail was opened in 1967 and follows along the St. Clair River. The afternoon Canada Day events were taking place at Canatara Park on the other side of the city. Centennial was empty except for vendors setting up. In the evening people will come to Centennial for the fireworks.

There was the 6069 locomotive engine on display in the park. It was one of 20 steam engines made by the Montreal Locomotive Works for the CNR. This one was completed in 1944. They were for passenger trains and could reach speed of 100 km per hour.

They were decommissioned in 1960 with the transfer to diesel. There are two other preserved – the 6077 in Caperol, Ontario and the 6060 in Jasper, Alberta. Love the conical nose shape.

On the way back to the hotel saw this sports trivia sign.

Bad Dog Grill. By the time I got back to the hotel the heat and humidity were getting to me. The pugs wanted to go out. After cooling down and drinking water, I took the GOOD dogs to the Bad Dog Grill. It was 1/2 block down the street.

We sat at the left hand corner table in the pet patio under an umbrella.

They had an amber ale from Black Gold Brewery in Pretoria, ON.

There was a speaker above our head playing loud rock music. After reading the menu I looked around and didn’t see Greta. She had gone under my chair, I guess to escape the loud noise. I picked her up and put her on my lap for reassurance.

I ordered garlic bread with cheese to share.

The restaurant had a good selection of bowls to choose from. I picked the Dynamite Bowl, not only for the spice but the plentiful vegetable combo.

Eve and worn her Maple Leaf bandana. She is not one for dressing too fancy. Greta spread her tutu on the patio.

To exit we had to walk through the whole patio and then the whole restaurant. Every eye was on Greta. People were telling me “you have such cute dogs”. At one point in the restaurant, she stopped for a rest right by this long table with a big family. The kids were overjoyed and adults were taking pictures. She was the Belle of Sarnia.

We got back and they were lightly panting. I had planned to take them to the bandshell where a Led Zeppelin tribute band was going to play that night. Besides my head was still feeling the affects of the heat. We all cuddled closely in the big bed for our last, good night’s sleep.