The MBCC Homecoming returned to the beautiful, old, limestone City of Kingston, Ontario, in 2009. Previously the 1984 Homecoming had been held there. Kingston has the distinction of being the oldest community in Canada. Its history began in 1673 when Robert Cavalier de La Salle, on behalf of the Governor of Nouvelle-France, chose Cataraqui as the site for a fortified trading post of the same name. Soon Fort Cataraqui was renamed Fort Frontenac. In 1785 it was captured and destroyed by the British in the Battle of Fort Frontenac near the end of the Seven Years’ War.
During the War of 1812 Kingston was the base for the Lake Ontario division of the Great Lakes British naval fleet. Kingston was incorporated as a town in 1838 and went on to become the primary military and economic centre of Upper Canada following the completion of the Rideau Canal in 1832. Kingston enjoyed a brief stint as the capital from 1841 to 1844, including the first meeting of the Parliament of the United Canadas. It was also the home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister.
The City of Kingston was incorporated in 1846. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Kingston was an important Great Lakes port and a centre for ship and locomotive building, including the largest locomotive works in the British Empire: the Canadian Locomotive Company. It was during this time that the world renowned Queen's University, the Royal Military College, St. Lawrence College and the Canadian Armed Forces School of Communications and Electronics began.
On the first day our tour took us over an enjoyable route across quiet rivers and larger bodies of water by bridge and ferry. Our hunger was satisfied by a coffee stop in Gananoque and lunch in the Fair Grounds in Lansdowne. We passed through several small towns, over a few of Ontario’s Water Way Locks and travelled along the 1000 Island Parkway with its beautiful views of the St. Lawrence Sea Way. Another break in the afternoon was held at the Cheese Factory in Forfar then back to our accommodation at the Ambassador Hotel. This evening was free for exploring Kingston or just relaxing.
The second day took us to the delightful Prince Edward County area where we toured the Ameliasburgh Museum, providing us a glimpse into Ontario’s pioneer times and enjoyed another great lunch. The afternoon return was via Bloomfield with its incredibly delicious ice cream and the Glenora Ferry. The evening meal, a Pizza Party at the Ambassador Hotel and a Silent Auction, proceeds going to Almost Home, Kingston. This charitable organization provides a place of comfort and respite for families whose children are receiving medical treatment in the Kingston area hospitals.
Saturday morning we toured the nearby Wolfe Island. Accessible only by ferry, our members’ cars occupied a considerable portion of this large vessel. Visits were made to a Buffalo Farm, an historic church and the Wolfe Island Wind Project.
A free afternoon for more exploring or relaxing was followed in the evening by the Banquet. Although there were many beautiful Buicks at this event, John and Alice Feser won the Peoples' Choice Award with their incredible 1923 model 45, 5-passenger Touring McLaughlin-Buick. A superb meal accompanied by the Confederation Jazz Band brought the 2009 Homecoming to a close.
By Rob Fraser