Posted in Writing Life


This has been the last week I have my kids at home with me for the summer. Next week they’ve got camp and school starts right after Labour Day, not only for them, but for A as well. And so we took advantage of the time we had to hike here:

Crawford Lake by Whpq, Wikipedia commons

It is a a meromictic lake, which means the bottom and the top don’t mix, making

this lake a prime site for archeological and geochemical studies. Using pollen analysis, reconstruction of the history of the area over several hundred years was possible.

The pollen analysis revealed the agricultural history of the native Iroquois Indians and the presence of a village. The Wendat [Huron] village has been reconstructed in the conservation area based on many years of work by archaeologists.

We went roller blading on Toronto Island, which has only one “road” around the perimeter for cyclists, skaters, pedestrians, and the odd maintenance truck.

Toronto skyline from the island by chensiyuan, Wikipedia, click to enlarge

Prior to European colonization, the Toronto area was home to various native tribes, including the Ojibwa who were the last people to occupy the area. The peninsula and surrounding sand-bars that now form the Toronto Islands were first surveyed in 1792 by Lieutenant Joseph Bouchette of the Royal Navy. D. W. Smith’s Gazetteer recorded in 1813 that “the long beach or peninsula, which affords a most delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians that they resort to it whenever indisposed”…

To the descendants of the Ojibwa, now the Mississauga First Nation, the Toronto Islands are sacred land. Their aboriginal title to the islands has been acknowledged by the federal government of Canada[citation needed]. The land is currently ‘owned’ by the City of Toronto, and the Mississaugas are considering how they will exercise their aboriginal title and have a presence there.

But the ultimate adventure, for my kids, was a visit to exurbia, where we spent the day in a friend’s split level house with an above ground pool and a hot tub. This, according to M, made it a superior travel destination. And that’s why, when we were walking from the subway to the ferry docks, I told my kids that people actually travel to Toronto to do the things we can do any time we want.

“Look those are tourists,” I said, pointing to three 20-something males with backpacks.

“How do you know?” asked M.

“The cameras,” I said. “And that one is holding a guide. The 10 top things to do in Toronto. He’s going to the island, too.”

“Really?” she asked.

“Yes, really.”



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

11 thoughts on “*Adventures

  1. Back in the 1980’s were were “Tourists in Toronto,” quite often, and our trips always included at least one day on the Islands.

    Is Canada’s Wonderland still there in any shape or form? That was a favorite destination as well.

    1. Becca, Canada’s Wonderuland is still going strong. We don’t go because I don’t like rides, but it’s a popular place.

      Rachel I’d be glad to point you out! You’re welcome here any time.

    1. Dorothy, there was ferry service for a couple of years between Rochester and Toronto, but I never tried it and now it’s gone again. My kids are fascinated by the thought that the U.S. is right across from the lake.

  2. Lilian, I just remembered it wasn’t Canada’s Wonderland (I don’t like rides either!) but Ontario Place that we used to enjoy. I googled it, and see it’s still open 🙂

  3. You guys have had such a great summer – what a terrific way to finish. I really enjoyed my last visit to Toronto, although I can hardly believe it was nearly ten years ago. You’re so right, Lilian, about tourists often doing more when they visit than residents generally do living there. It’s the same everywhere, I think, except maybe NYC!! Llew and I often have Sydney excursions for this very reason, and I plan to do it a lot once our little friend is with us.

    1. Di, you know last year we stopped sending our kids to an after-school program because of finances and it was such a good decision. I was surprised at how much they enjoyed coming home (even though they’d only been going 3x a week). They didn’t miss the time with friends. I really think they get so much social activity at school that it’s a relief to be at home, even for my extroverted younger d.

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