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

"Live for the weekend"

CANADA | Thursday, 14 April 2011 | Views [301]

“Live for the weekend”- the motto of an exchange teacher.

 Once again another action packed weekend has flown by. For the kids, it was a three day weekend, as Friday was a pupil free day at Sacred Heart. So once again, we dropped Mummy off at school and headed off to do our own thing.


Friday08 April

This time a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, (The ROM). The ROM is situated in the heart of Toronto and is much like the Museum of Natural History in New York or the Australian Museum in Sydney. The hall of the First Nations peoples I found to be really interesting, but it was the Dinosaurs and the Egyptian galleries that the kids wanted to see. Since seeing a Sarcophagus in the Museum of Modern Art, Natasha loves all things Egyptian and the gallery in the ROM didn’t disappoint as it had an open Sarcophagus showing mummified remains. Amongst other things  was the bust of Cleopatra, a tomb and a wall tableau depicting a trading expedition, all told in Hieroglyphs.


In the dinosaur hall is a good representation of all the types that keep getting unearthed in Alberta. Including a T-Rex, good old Rexy seems to get around, the usual Stegosaurs, Triceratops and a Barosaurus. If they came alive we would have been surrounded by the cast of Jurrassic Park.


An unexpected highlight of our visit was getting to listen to a symphony orchestra perform in the concourse, another thing Tash seemed to enjoy.


Saturday 09 April

We were invited to lunch with the Barnard’s, who are on exchange in St Catherine’s only half an hour away from us. Laureen, Mick, Holly, Callum and Tiann live almost alongside the Welland Canal, so they invited us and Ken and Francesca down for a look.


The Welland Canal is a part of the St Lawrence Seaway that connects all of the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, it enables ships to travel the 2400 miles from Alberta in the Midwest through the Lakes  to the Coast. The Welland Canal itself connects Lake Ontario with Lake Erie and was built to allow shipping to get around the problem of the Niagara Falls. Over the 27 mile length of the Canal there are eight locks that raise ships from Lake Ontario up 183m over the Niagara escarpment to the level of Lake Erie. Where the Barnards are staying is close to Lock 3, which alongside it has a museum on the history of the canals (the current one being the 4th) and an observation platform from where you can watch vessels enter the locks and see the locks operation.


A couple of facts: To fill a lock 260m long by 24m wide and 8m deep only takes 12 minutes, that is a lot of water. To give you an idea how busy the canals are, over the couple of hours we were there I counted 10 different vessels pass by, ranging from Lakers (large flat sided barges) 200m long to Coast Guard cutters and tugs. Apparently in the busier times there can be 50 vessels at any one time on the canal. The longest vessels to travel the canals were 245m long. As well as Lakers, ocean going cargo vessels make the trip, carrying coal, ore, and wheat to the Middle East and elsewhere.


Also inside the museum is the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Canada’s national game, which I didn’t know was invented by Naive Americans.  Hanging from the rafters I spotted a Nepean Knights jersey and got all excited thinking that maybe Western Sydney was on the map, but no, there is a town called Nepean, here in Canada.


After bidding farewell to our hosts, we went for a quick drive up the canal to Locks, 4, 5, 6 and 7. 4, 5 and 6 are ganged together, meaning as you leave one you pass into another, this way ships can climb over 50m in a short distance. They are also twinned locks, allowing passage in both directions at the same time. Again while we were there we saw another 3 vessels make their way through. Leaving lock 7 we then made our way back home after another pleasant day witnessing something different.


Sunday was a rest day. Even we need one every now and then. Chelle, didn’t rest she spent the day doing school work while the kids played around the house. One good thing, with the arrival of Spring it has brought the kids out in the street and both Ryan and Tash have made friends with kids down the road. So now when we get home and have completed our homework it’s off outside to play, which with daylight savings can mean up to 6pm at the moment.


So now it’s halfway through another week and we are “Living For The Weekend’ this coming weekend it’s the Toronto zoo and maybe a quick trip over the border.


Till next time.

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