I had BIG plans for Toronto. It is a big city, we had six full days and there is lots to see and I had been there many times and wanted to show the boys and Ralph all the cool sights in the city. We planned to do the Hockey Hall of Fame (kiss that Cup!), the CN Tower, Old Toronto (think of all that War of 1812 history!), the Dome, a few museums, Canada’s Wonderland and the CBC building and of course the worlds largest bookstore for yours truly, the book addict.
The irony is that we will always remember the fabulous time we had during our visit to the greater Toronto area and this has nothing to do with any tourist attraction or museum. In fact, we only visited one museum during our six days here. In the end our trip here was all about visiting our friends.
We were greeted at our RV campsite on our very first night by my old friends Krista and Dave Lewis.
They came with wine and cheese and welcomed us warmly to Canada. Their two boys are a few years older than ours and I have always gleaned good advice and tips from Krista on raising sons. It was so nice after all these years to have Krista and Dave meet my family. We were excited to meet their boys and arranged a dinner for our last night in Canada.
The very next day we left our RV for a weekend at our cousin’s cottage. It was wonderful to spend a full weekend with my childhood friend and cousin Sandy, her husband Grant and their two terrific sons Kobe and Tyler. We all bonded instantly and it was so moving to watch our children play together as if they had always known each other.
To see Sandy interact with our boys and to watch Grant take all the boys endlessly around the lake in his boat, expertly coaching them to waterski and knee board and listening to the cheers and encouragement from their cousins Kobe and Ty are memories I will always treasure.
We had such a fantastic time with them, we stayed another full day.
Sure, we could’ve gone up in the CN Tower but would’ve missed playing with our cousins. We gave our kids a choice…” Go to the CN Tower or play with your cousins after school”. They picked playing with their cousins hands down, no contest. I think the only reason we actually got to see the Hockey Hall of Fame is because the cousins had to go to school on Monday.
We then traveled north to see our dear friends Tony and Carol in scenic Chalet country near Lake Huron.
What a beautiful place and what fabulous people. They had an outstanding rock garden that the boys and I explored for two hours, we walked around the Blue Mountains for some awesome views and we dipped our toes in Lake Huron too! After we ate our first beaver tail (see Alex’s review on RVing in Canada for kids).
Uncle Tony took the boys off to the ” three pools” (indoor, outdoor and billards) while Carol and I walked on the shores or Lake Huron…beautiful! We had a dinner of a delicious Tortiere (French Canadian Meat pie), real Canadian bacon (not that ham stuff we US folk get in our grocery store) and Ontario strawberries..
We learned all sorts of fascinating Cultural things about Canada and, as you can tell, all enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Our last night, we went to Krista’s home for dinner. I came very close to tears when I saw our friend Len who drove from the five hours from Ottawa to Toronto just to have dinner with us and meet our boys for the first time. I had not seen Len in almost two years since his retirement party (SOB!!) and had missed him greatly.
Well, to say that we had a fantastic dinner is an understatement at best. We arrived at Krista’s (sadly Dave was on a business trip) at 3 pm and rolled out of her home, reluctantly, at 10 pm. We couldn’t stop talking. We found out to our delight that Len will be in The West during the same time that we are there and so made plans to get together then as well as plans to come visit Len in his historic Ottawa hometown during the winter to visit and skate on the canals.
Krista is an talented hostess and cook. Having two boys herself, Krista had asked our two what their favorite meals was and came up an extensive menu of steak, lamb, potatoes, green beans, Caesar salad, corn and berries with whipped cream. Alex and Eli were so happy to eat their favorite foods and I am still full as I write this. Her sons Owen and Matthew were very kind to our two boys. After all the years of hearing about them, it was heartwarming to see these two much older boys letting Alex and Eli play their drums and guitars and talking with them.
These “never to be forgotten” experiences would not have happened if we had let the museums be our goal for this trip. And so, I learned again the most important rule about RVing full time:
It is all about the people.
RVing is less about all the things you see and much more about the people you meet and the bonds of friendship you forge along the way. The rest of the museums and destinations will all still be here when we return next year to see all our friends and family.