Roadtrip to Kingston

Trip Start Dec 29, 2012
Trip End Jun 29, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On the morning of the 19th me and Alyssa headed a couple of hours east along the edge of Lake Ontario to Kingston. The site of her former university and a gateway to the 1000 islands we decided to stay the night. When we arrived around lunchtime we had lunch on the lakeshore. Eating our hotdogs we were joined by some of the local seagulls and a young one in particular was curiously regarding us so we named him Buster. After our hotdogs we visited an ice cream shop as it was a lovely, hot day. The Marble Slab was an interesting experience; the concept is that you get to pick several flavours of ice cream and toppings and they mix it all together before putting it into the cone. The resulting cone is yummy but also extremely big which made me feel a bit sick from all the sweetness after a while!

Eating our ice creams we headed back to the car and to the little town of Gananoque further East to take a 1000 islands cruise. We arrived with 10 minutes to spare and were surprised to see a 3 deck boat that was filled with people (summer had only just started in Canada so we were not expecting it to be as busy as it was!). The cruise was a 2.5 hour ride around some of the "1000 islands" at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The name is actually incorrect as there are in fact 1800 islands in the group and they saddle the border between Canada and the US; the world's shortest international bridge can be found here. The cruise was nice and relaxing and we spent most of the time admiring the large summer houses lining the edges of the larger islands and the properties that were self contained on their own island, on the American side of the river there was also a trailer park right by the waters edge! The boat circled the island on which Boldt Castle was built; it was built by an American immigrant for his wife but was never finished as she died unexpectedly and her grief stricken husband couldn't face visiting again. We then returned to Canadian waters and back to Gananoque. It was a pleasant couple of hours, even if it did incite feelings of jealousy in us over those who could afford the lovely houses we had seen!

We returned to Kingston late in the afternoon and were able to take the final Trolley Tour of the day. When we got on the old fashioned, open-sided bus carriage, we found we were the only ones taking the tour of Kingston. The tour took around an hour and passed through several landmarks in Kingston which was an important town in the early days of Canada's development. Passing through the Royal Military College we were treated to a display by some of the recruits pretending to be topless strong men which was hilarious. We then travelled up the hill to Fort Henry which has a nice view across the river to the Kingston skyline. Returning over the river the trolley took us through the centre of Kingston and to the West side of the city where we saw the original area that was settled by European colonists and the house of Canada's very first Prime Minister who was Scottish and fiercly patriotic to Scotland. Next stop on the tour was a visit to the former prison (now run as a museum) and across the road we could see the high, barbed walls of the current maximum security prison located here. It was a bit of a shock to see that in the middle of a fairly residential area! 

The trolley tour ended by travelling through the Queen's University "campus" and down the main shopping street before dropping us off where we had started. We then headed to one of the Queen's University Halls of Residence where we had booked a room for the night. It was very strange to be in such a studenty environment again! It was also very empty with all the students away for the summer. Staying in one of the residences was an insight into university life across the Atlantic... I am very glad we don't have to have shared rooms in the UK! I couldn't imagine spending my university years sharing with someone who I didn't know until the day we arrived in the room!

After checking in we headed downstairs where we were met by a couple of Alyssa's uni friends and we went for dinner in town. At dinner Alyssa bought some Poutine for me to try. It was disgusting. Gravy should never be put on chips; let alone with cheese aswell! The Canadians found my disgusted face funny and Alyssa was disappointed that I didn't like it. But you can't like everything! On Thursday morning we returned to Markham via Tim Horton's, Canada's national coffee chain (with a drive-thru!) for breakfast. Kingston had been a pleasant, quiet side trip from Toronto.
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