Thursday morning broke cool and windy with lots of clouds, but a good forecast. We met in the parking lot of the host hotel prior to departing on our tour. Harold MacQueen had a real problem. He discovered that his locking gas cap (people still use these antiques?) would not unlock and he could not remove it. So he could not fill the tank. A bunch of us worked on it for over half an hour, destroying the cap in the process, but it still would not come off. So, Harold and Verna picked up a ride for the day with the Coles.
Our group headed for the Scenic Caves, a major attraction in Collingwood for over 70 years. However, there is a VERY steep hill to climb and the 1922 McLaughlin be-longing to Roger and Eleanor Hadfield had a very slow climb, which made it a slow climb for everyone behind him: just part of the fun of the "old car hobby". Roger waved us around him but we refused to pass him, enjoy-ing the slow drive for a change. The scenic caves are a very interesting climb on slippery rocks and narrow passages. These caves are really deep passages in the rocks with openings above. The caves were formed over the course of hundreds of millions of years followed by ice movement of the Glacial Ages. After climbing around the caves we had the opportunity to cross the recently installed and longest suspension foot bridge in Ontario, 126 metres long and 25 metres above the valley floor. Very interesting, especially when it gets swaying.
Departing here we followed Highway 26 to Wasaga Beach, home of the longest freshwater beach in the world. It was a pleasant drive with the top down, however it got very windy. When we reached our destination, Nancy Island, we picked up our box lunches and made our way to the picnic area with a view of the bay. The water was being whipped into large white caps and lots of people were in swimming.
After lunch we were entertained by a team of interesting young people, portraying those who would have been alive during the 1812 war between Canada and the USA, and explaining life on the "Nancy", a British Schooner which was a fur trading vessel pressed into service during the war and was sunk on the Nottawasaga River in 1814. Her remains were discovered in 1911 and raised in 1928 and now lie on display in a climate controlled room. The young people "pressed us" into service as "Red Coats" and "Sailors" and explained our new duties, including how to load a musket and what our jobs on the ship were to be. All in all, it was a very interesting event. Then back to the hotel for a break prior to our dinner at the Legion. It was a great day with bright sunshine and most of our convertibles had the tops down.
Friday morning was beautiful: bright sunshine, perfect top downweather. We followed the same route as Thursday. The '22 left ahead of us to get up the hill without slowing the parade down. We passed the scenic caves to a pull-off with a great view of the bay and a perfect place for our group picture.
From here we proceeded along the road to our next stop at the Bay Apple Growers Co-op Inc. Here our host, Jim, gave us a one hour tour of this huge place where they sort and separate apples on computer controlled systems. He told us that it would cost $20 million to build this set- up today. It sure was an interesting place to walk through and see how it worked. From here we proceeded down County Road 13 to Eugenia Conservation Area where we walked on a pleasant path to view these very high falls, although not much water at this time of the year. I bet it really flows in the spring. After our visit here we headed across country to Singhampton and the home of Mylar and Loreta's Restaurant where we were expected and welcomed for our pre-paid lunch. This is a nice place and the prices are very reasonable according to the informa-tion sheet I picked up.
After a filling lunch of soup or salad, family style sandwich plates, apple crisp and ice cream, we waddled back to our cars for the next leg of our journey to Creemore along the Noisy River Drive (County Road #9) a very scenic road, with lots of curves. Our destination was the village of Creemore, a neat little spot with a famous brewery, Creemore Springs, where we had a tour and samples. We walked around the main street prior to heading back across scenic hilly roads to our hotel - another wonderful day capped off by a fire ring behind the hotel especially for our group.
On Saturday the sky was cloudy and the temperature a little cooler than the previous day. No tops down this morning for our beautiful drive across very scenic roads to Owen Sound. Hwy. 26 had a lot of construction and was to be avoided. Our destination was Georgian College Great Lakes International Marine Training Centre, Can-ada's only Transport Canada approved marine training facility. This is a 20,000-square-foot, $8 million world-class Marine Simulation and Research Centre. People wanting a "marine lifestyle position" come here to study and graduate. Graduates are pretty well guaranteed a job on the great lakes or on the oceans. They teach ship handling as well as marine technology.
Our host was Captain Peter Buell, Director of the Training Centre. Also located on the campus is a Culinary School where they teach all facets of cooking and management in the food industry. The students prepared an excellent buffet lunch under the direction of Jason Classman, Program Manager for Culinary Skills, for our group. After lunch we found out that the construction on Hwy. 26 was not a deterrent and we could drive back to Collingwood along this road with lake views, which we did and we put the top down as the sun was out - another fantastic day. Later that evening we had our wrap-up banquet, silent auction and a young magician entertained us.
This event was well prepared by our hosts, Bill and Rosalee Hamilton with Bob and Doreen Ward's assistance.
by Keith Horsfall