It is a bit like a bug that I cannot shake. Wherever I travel, wherever I may go, I look to connect with the history and stories of the place, and invariably I am drawn to finding connections to Mississauga.
We recently had an opportunity to go winter Yurt camping in Algonquin Park – and I highly recommend it! It was a wonderful experience. In the evenings, after an entire day spent in the frosty outside air, I happily perused several books on the history of Algonquin Park.
Over the course of our brief 3-day trip, we had a chance to explore several different parts of The Park and nearby locations, each of which brought some interesting connections to home.
On arrival at the Mew Lake Campground, there was a message board, and one of the messages was signed from Mississauga only the day before – a good omen, considering that we had also just viewed two moose (from a safe distance), which was a first for us in over 30 years of visiting The Park.
We began the next day hiking, birdwatching (and feeding), and tracking animal prints along the Spruce Bog trail. In the parking lot, I noticed a car that looked familiar, but dismissed it and we went along our way.
It was a beautiful day for a winter walk and feeding birds from our hands was a wonderful experience. A few hours later when we returned to our vehicle, another hiker emerged from the opposite direction – it turned out that it was a neighbour from Mississauga (hence the familiar vehicle). That was the first Mississauga connection found on our trip, but not the last.
From there we headed into Huntsville for some skating and snowshoeing at Arrowhead Provincial Park.
After the day spent outside, we headed into town for dinner. Choosing a restaurant that did not look busy, we headed in for our meal. We had a lovely time chatting with our server, and quickly learned that she was originally from Mississauga, having lived both in the Clarkson and Cooksville areas. We were asking questions about winter activities in the area, whereas she was asking all kinds of questions about Mississauga. It was a fun conversation and highlights the interconnectedness of people and places.
That evening we headed to the Muskoka Heritage Place village for the Eclipse Light Walk (www.eclipselightwalk.com).
An unexpected thrill came with a chance to walk goats – yes, walk goats on a leash – we never knew that was a thing to do before that! What a fun and unique experience. While there, we had a chance to speak with an ice carver and several other visitors. One of the other families visiting lived in Lorne Park and were, like us, taking a few days away from home to explore Muskoka in the winter. Yet another connection to home.
The next day we went snowshoeing around the Algonquin Logging Museum Trail (another incredible experience chalked full of history). We travelled along Highway 60 passing Brewer Lake – turns out there MAY be another local connection with the name of the lake: one source suggested that the lake was named around 1906 for a Doctor Joseph Brewer of Port Credit who spent time here in the summer in the early years of Algonquin Park. Only problem is that I can find no local reference to a Doctor Brewer, so I cannot say that there is a definitive link. However, it would be fascinating to learn more!
That evening we spent time playing ice hockey on the outdoor rink at Mew Lake, which brought back lovely memories of shinny on the Schneller’s backyard rink growing up in Erindale.
Packing up and leaving Algonquin Park is always difficult for us – The Park has such a special place in our hearts, and we love now being able to share it with our children. As we packed our van for the return trip, I opened the door to our Yurt and found one last reminder and connection to home – a label that said that the Yurt, standing in the Mew Lake Campground in Algonquin Park, was made in Mississauga! Nice to think that there is a little piece of home beckoning for a return visit!