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2011 The Nightingale's Oddessy Our exchange year in Canada.

Our weekend in Collingwood

CANADA | Tuesday, 11 January 2011 | Views [331]

Saturday 8th of Jan saw us heading North to Collingwood on the shores of Lake Huron, to stay with Dean and Toni, the Australian exchange couple that sold us their car and graciously invited us up for the weekend to experience skiing.

Saturday morning provided my first real opportunity to drive in relatively heavy snow. It's interesting watching 6 snow plows move in a diagonal line down a highway with cars piled up behind them. Most traffic was moving at 40km's but there was still some that believed 70-80kph is an acceptable speed in the snow. The drive up was certainly a beautiful one with everything blanketed in snow.

We arrived in Collingwood around 11:30 and were immediately made to feel very welcome. Dean has been on twelve month exchange to Collingwood teaching hospitality and this was their second last weekend in Canada. After a relaxing lunch Dean decked us out in snow gear and ski's and arranged with some friends we would meet later to get some more gear, so in the end all we ended up needing to hire were ski boots for Tash and I. We then went to a Ski resort in the Blue Mountains (ironic I know). Unfortunately we arrived to late to get lessons, so we got passes for the beginner slopes $138.00 for 4 people and hire of two pair of boot. Chelle then tried to impart her knowledge to the kids, who had the impression that skiing was going to be easy.

I had one run down the slope and managed to remain on my feet while Chelle took the kids up the magic carpet to the top of the slope. While Chelle was trying to guide Tash down the slope she left Ryan at the top, I was heading back up on the carpet. Ryan got to close to the edge of the slope and started heading down on his own, all his parents could do was stand and watch as he flew past, somehow or other he stayed on his feet, went through a crowd of people and finally came to a stop in a snow drift 1 metre from a road. Needless to say it gave everyone a scare and after that we restricted our skiing, vowing to get the kids into classes close to home.

Not long after that it started to get dark and cold and the crowds were building for the night skiing so we headed back to Dean and Toni's for dinner. The slopes in the Blue mountains aren't big ones but they are all decked out for night skiing and look fantastic under lights. Saturday night was a great dinner consisting of Ribs and Wings and other morsals and plenty of alcohol. We met two other Canadian couples, Katy and Todd and Ryan and Jen, Katy and Todd have previously done two exchanges to Australia, both being teachers. One exchange to Kingscliff Qld (Katy) and Jannelli Syd, (Todd) both were able to provide advice and have invited us back skiing again.

Sunday after a big cooked breakfast we went into town to meet Katy and Todd for coffee and afterwards we were invited to go and watch their son play ice hockey closeby, our first hockey game. Though it was only under 14's it was fast and furious with a number of the boys being sin binned. Ryan even managed to get one of the game pucks that had been hit over the plexy glass, apparently if it's hit out and the game restarts with another it's finders keepers. Katy and Todd's youngest son recovered it and gave it to Ryan.

After watching the game for a while we then went on a tour of the town and down to the harbour which was frozen over. Outside temp was -12 and people had brought out their ice huts,cut holes in the ice and were fishing. During summer Collingwood and surrounding area are a popular beach resort with nearby Wasaga beach being the longest freshwater beach in the world, now all the dunes are covered in snow. Summer temps get up around 30 degrees with high humidity. It's strange looking out across the ice to see waves breaking on the edges.

After touring around we had to head back, pack up and bid fond farewells to Toni and Dean, with promises to keep in contact and catch up when we all get back together in Aus.

Our trip back was split up by a stop for lunch at a mall in Barrie and shopping at Sears were Chelle managed to pick up ski pants and jacket for Tash for $39.00, along with a number of other items.

We finally arrived back at about 3 o'clock totally worn out after a fantastic weekend.

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