Wawa, Ontario, is farther north than many American tourists travel. We believe this, because so many of the people we met were surprised to find us in their town. They were also pleased, and happy to tell us how pleasant it is to live there. The French word for "goose" is "oie" (pronounced just the way you think it is); we seem to have found the ancestral home of the Canada goose, which is illustrated by several large civic statues.
The Summer air was crisp and clear, and to our post-cataract-surgery eyes the Waterfall colors around us were bright and varied. Near Wawa we found a tumbling waterfall to enjoy, and a quiet sandy beach where Glenn Gould like to spend some quiet time.
The best part, however, was the friendly waitress in the Wawa cafe where we ate our breakfasts. By the second day she had noted our preferences, learned our names, and was ready to make suggestions about things to see in the area. She had lived in or near Wawa all her life, just about, and had worked for the cafe for over forty years. Sandy Beach Such a pleasant, contented person!
Other than the great silence you find standing outdoors in rural Canada, Wawa is not much different from the rest of the country that we have seen so far. Trees, lakes, hills and mountains, small pastures, assemble and re-assemble themselves into landscapes.
Moving northeast, we found a couple of intriguing towns, each with good, small museums. Williamstown, Ontario, has an enthusiastic curator for the town museum, part of which is furnished with articles illustrating the North West Company, founded North West Company in Williamstown by local adventurers. A rival to the Hudson's Bay Company, they hired trappers and traders to move west and ship valuable goods back east. We saw a large canoe and furs and weapons, and read a good description of what it was like to be a fur trader and trapper. But the most fun was reading the collection of farm histories. Staff had persuaded many of the farmers in the county to share family photos and stories of their farms. Many of these families are still farming land their great-grandparents had settled, and often still live in the same farmhouse. The stories are similar, but each his its own twist, and would make an enjoyable book. Upper Canada Village schoolfinishing their recess as we came by. At the
Not far away, in Morrisburg, Ontario, Upper Canada Village is yet another living history park, a charming recreation of life in 19th century rural Ontario. We strolled through the village streets and were captivated by the schoolhouse, where boys and girls were just responding to the sound of the school bell, the children lined up, the teacher inspecting every pupil's hands to make sure they were clean enough to touch books and slates, and then leading them indoors to continue the school day. It is a lively schedule with many different activities going on more or less simultaneously -- a real treat!