Day 5: Wednesday, September 16

A Day in Collingwood

We were up at about 8:00 this morning. Breakfast is not available at the hotel during the COVID pandemic, so we knew we had to go elsewhere for our morning eats. We showered, then went over to the nearby Tim Horton’s (ah, good old Tims), where we ordered breakfast sandwiches, coffee and OJ to go. Returning to our hotel room, we had our breakfast in our room’s little kitchen.

For today’s activities we decided we’d stay within Collingwood and see what it had to offer, rather than heading out somewhere like the Blue Mountains or the Scenic Caves Adventure – those are for next time.

We walked down First Street and went into the Collingwood Arboretum and Labyrinth. It was very peaceful and well laid out:

There was a boardwalk that ran into the marshes so you could view the ducks, turtles, swans, etc., without disturbing them. We wondered the length of the Arboretum boardwalk:

Returning to Collingwood’s streets, we explored the Collingwood Museum grounds. The Museum is a relevant historical site as it was formerly the Collingwood railway station; it was a beautiful and stately location:

Leaving the old railway station/Collingwood Museum we headed out along the Georgian Bay shoreline to Millennium Overlook Park. On the way out to Overlook Park we passed through the Harbourlands Walk of History. This walk is an homage to Collingwood’s shipbuilding days. At one time, shipbuilding was crucial to Collingwood’s livelihood. Many ships were built here, and each new ship bore a unique name engraved on its hull plate. On the Harbourlands Walk of History, replica hull plates of each ship built in Collingwood are mounted into the walkway/sidewalk. The Harbourland Walk of History honours the ships and the people who built them from 1901-1986:

We continued along the Georgian Bay shoreline out to the Millennium Overlook Park. We spent a lot of time there communing with nature, discovering the harbour and boats, and photographing the abandoned grain terminal:

It was about 12:30 and we were starting to get hungry, so we walked back to First Street in search of a lunch venue. There’s lots to choose from on this street but we settled on the Beaver and Bulldog for a faux British pub-type experience. I had a huge burger with fries (which basically filled me up for the rest of the day) and Vince had the lunch special of Caesar Salad and Grilled Cheese Sandwich. We sat inside where it was cooler; it was a pretty hot day and we didn’t feel like sweltering on the patio in the direct sun.

After lunch we thought we’d make our way out to Sunset Point Beach, which is another harbour lookout point. Half way there the sidewalks became blocked due to construction and we couldn’t pass beyond our present point. Instead, we cut down some side streets and started exploring the streets of Collingwood. We followed several different walking/biking paths, enjoying the peace and quiet. We came upon an almost-hidden Japanese garden that was simple and beautiful – it was called Friendship Gardens, and was dedicated to Collingwood’s sister city Katano in Japan:

Leaving the Japanese gardens we continued along the paths and came out at Hume Street, where the Collingwood water tower presides over the town:

We walked a long way down Hume Street – it’s a very interesting street with a mix of upper-middle houses, local businesses and many, many manicured/landscaped lawns. We then headed down Hurontario Street to go to the local DQ (gotta have my ice cream fix, you know), but only the drive-thru was open and there was a huge line, so we opted to continue down Hurontario Street until we came to Third Street. We headed down Third Street which pretty much brought us back to the hotel.

It was about 4:30 at this point so we just rested in our room. We knew we wanted to have a meal out somewhere tonight, so when 6:00 rolled around we headed to the nearby Swiss Chalet (sometimes there’s nothing like Canadian comfort food). We were greeted by an extremely friendly hostess who told us about her experience of moving to Collingwood from Toronto several years ago.

We ordered our meal, and when it arrived it proved exceptional for Swiss Chalet. Near the meal’s end we could see the sky turning very dark outside and it looked as if we were in for a hell of a storm. We asked for our bill, paid it, then got back to the hotel, trying to beat the imminent rainstorm. We got a little wet but reached the hotel in the nick of time (frustratingly, the rain never did develop full force despite the ominous bluster and wind).

We reached the hotel at about 7:00 and sampled a few of our treats purchased from our visit to the Nutty Chocolatier in Huntsville. The rest of the evening was spent reading, resting and catching up on the journal. We walked a long way today, so our feet are pounding and we are beat!

Sadly, this is our last night in Collingwood; tomorrow we are off to Owen Sound and more adventures! To bed early again tonight (9:45-ish).

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