A Day Filled with History

(okay, time for me to get posting a few more from our trip to Ottawa, and then back to life in the here-and-now, the adventures we’re having NOW, not a month ago. Be patient, pics are here, links will be tomorrow if I get a chance on lunch)

It was a history kind of afternoon and evening.

I keep trying to write about it, but it just comes out sounding like a grade seven history class. So let’s put it this way. There’s a really cool canal in Ontario, called the Rideau Canal.  The short story is that it was built in the 1800s, without modern technology, and is now recognized as a World Heritage Site.  While it’s no longer a shipping necessity to preserve national security, it’s still in operation, with most of the original structures.

We started off a Saturday’s adventures, after spending the day swimming and boating in the sun, with a trip to Jones Falls locks for a barbeque.  We spent a while slowly ambling alongside the locks, following a boat as it was lowered, step by step, down to the lake below.  Cameron was in desperate need of a nap, but held it together fairly well, asking questions and intently watching the procedures. Or perhaps just mesmerized by the swirling, rushing currents of water as the sluice gates opened.

Then after an early dinner, we packed ourselves into two cars, and headed south to Kingston. Thankfully, Cameron dozed off, crashing from the sugar in dessert.

Why Kingston?

Last year we visited Fort Henry, the fort built to guard the entry point to the Rideau Canal (okayokay, originally it was built to guard the ship yards, but let’s not get technical). It made a huge impression on Cameron. Guns! Cannons! Soldiers! So we thought we’d do it again, see what his reaction was a whole year later. As well, Betty missed out last year, and Scott hadn’t seen the Twilight Ceremony either.

Through the evening, while the sun set, we watched the drum corps marching in formation, and soldiers demonstrating manoevers and battle techniques, firing guns and blasting cannons and field guns (my 4 year old son knows the difference, by the way!), and little snapshots of what everyday life was like for the soldiers and their families stationed there.

Last year, Cameron was in tears a few times, exhausted, and terrified at the finale – he’d been traumatized by fireworks already that year. This year? Wow. He was marching his feet in time with the drums, enthusiastic and smiling throughout. Okay, one little moment of fear, when it looked for all the world like a cluster of soldiers were going to shoot right at us. And he didn’t want to join the other ‘new recruits’ in marching lessons at intermission. That’ll be fun for next year, I’m sure. He cheered as the field guns were hauled out by grunting soldiers, leaned forward in anticipation for the final blasts from the cannons, and ooooohed along with everyone for the fireworks. Wonderful!

Maybe we’ll be able to get Leif and Kate there too sometime!

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