Once upon a time students who couldn't get into university, or wanted a trade were the only people who went to a community college. That is all changed now and the community college system provides key education to all facets of the community. Students range from post-secondary school students to mature students, and evening courses where seeing senior citizens updating their skills is not unusual.
Georgian College started off in a converted store of a strip plaza. It is now on the list of Canada's 100 Best Employers, and has the highest number of student placements of any college in Canada. The courses range from the CAI (Canadian Automotive Institute), a top rated Tourism and Hospitality program, Technology & Engineering, Fine Arts, and Health Studies, and many more. It is now degree granting through Laurentian University and York University, for the Nursing Program.
At the main Barrie campus, as well as a theatre, home of the Gryphon Theatre, there is a brand new library resource centre. Within Barrie is also found the school of nursing, and on the south shore of Kempenfelt Bay, is the Kempenfelt Centre used for conferences, and a training ground for the Hospitality students. The 3 main campuses are Barrie, Orillia, and Owen Sound. There are also regional campuses in Collingwood, Midland, Orangeville, Parry Sound, Bracebridge and Port Colborne. Georgian College also has international connections with Chandigarh, India, as well as in China, Australia, UK, and USA.
Perhaps they don't call them prairies as they do in Illinois. The hiking through designated trails in the prairies was refreshing and we walked by and into several unattended farms where the trails permitted.
We hiked near Tottenham, Horseshoe Valley and near Lagoon City on the designated tracks.
We found several farms that were not cultivated. Others that were perhaps thinking of selling land to property developers. Critters abound in the grass and one will be advised to cover up properly or risk skin irritations.
There are many trails through the forests anywhere you set your foot. Forest trails can be well populated during the weekends.
The singlemost noticable phenomena of hiking through forests in Ontario was lack of bird life. The forests were devoid of chirruping sound of the birds and instead filled with the grinding noise Cicadas. Skunks, squirrels and hares were plentiful though. In fact, more birds were visiting our premises later in Cambridge and now in Mississauga than in the forests.
We did lots of hiking and trekking in the Valley. The valley is home to many resorts, several golf courses, lakes, antique, art and craft and pottery stores, usually home based and depicting local culture. The Valley is located some 30 Kms north of Barrie, which is sort of capital of Huronia region. Barrie, a city of 100,000, is located about 150 kms north of Toronto.
Lagoon City is built around canals and is worth exploring by canoes and boats or by walking, cycling and even driving. Although we are canoeing and boating enthusiasts, due to the seasonal winds, we were not able to navigate the rough waters. However, we did lot of hiking and paddle boating on one day when the waters were calmer.
On the harbor side of the city, where canals meet with Lake Simcoe, we saw residents enjoy fishing. But it was extremely cold and windy on that particular day. We being no fishing enthusiasts simply watched them as we were budled up (see picture # 5), and planned for playing tennis in the covered area nearby.
Wandering about Centennial Park at Kempenfest I was just standing off the beaten path when I happened to see this sign. Now, I do not recall ever hearing about the ship, nor knowing anything about there being a wreck off the shore. Being a history "buff" I found it interesting, and just wonder how many other pieces of local history I have missed out on, by not seeing these signs. Now, I can warn folks who are bringing their boats into the Tiffin St. boat launch to watch out for the wreck! I thought that the only paddle boat was the one that is currently doing the tour of the bay.
The Elmvale Jungle Zoo is north of Barrie - maybe a 30 minute drive. Open in the summer only.
Lions, tigers, jaguars, monkeys, chimps, giraffes, elephants ( I think - something big I can't remember)... etc.
Just north-west of Barrie outside the Midhurst area is Springwater Provincial Park.
Besides being a place to take a walk / snowshoe in the woods, there is an outdoor animal interpretive area with many animals including bears, wolves, coyotes, beavers, etc.
Much better than a zoo! Open year 'round.
Just over the crest of the hill on Shanty Bay Road, heading east, is the end of the city of Barrie, and the beginning of the township of Oro. There is also this plaque telling the history of the site... the bottom of the Penetanguishene Road.
As it is a little difficult to read in the picture it says:
"The Penetanguishene Road, surveyed by Samuel Wilmot, was cut through from Kempenfelt to Georgian Bay during the War of 1812, under the supervision of "Tiger" Dunlop. Settlement along this road began in 1819. The Government reserved 300 acres here at its south end for a town. Known as the Village of Kempenfelt, it had a boat landing, log barracks, stores, tavern, brewery and brickyard.
In 1831 a petition was sent to Lieut. Gov. Sir John Colborne, asking that Kempenfelt be chosen as the County Town. But two years later, the Government purchased land at the present site of Barrie which became the County Town in 1837.
Erected by Simcoe County Historical Association 1976."
Despite spending many years in the area, and knowing a bit of the history, it took me until just recently (stopping to look at the placque & take its picture) to realise how big this Village of Kempenfelt was.
Penetanguishene Road is actually an extension of Yonge Street - after a ferry ride across Kempenfelt Bay. As stated on the plaque, the road was built during the War of 1812 to get supplies up to the British troops up on Georgian Bay without going via the Great Lakes, and risking attacks by the Americans. Penetanguishene Road is now known (after it leaves Barrie) as Highway 93 heading up through Crown Hill, Dalston, Craighurst (where there were 4, I think, inns for changing horse teams), then up to Hillsdale, Wyebridge and Wyevale and up past Midland to Penetanguishene and the Naval Establishment there.
Barrie's population is growing and so are the churches. Primarily the residents of Barrie have been Christians and there are many different denominations of the Christian church represented: Anglican (Church of England), Catholic, Presbyterian, United, Pentecostal, Baptist, and the Bretheren assemply amongst others. The Salvation Army has their presence in Barrie. There is a Church of the Latterday Saints, there as well. I understand that there is going to be a Jewish synnagogue finally built in Barrie. As well there are members of the Buddhist and Islamic faith in Barrie, but I am uncertain where their places of worship are located.
Shown is St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at the corner of Owen & Worsley Streets. It has been there since the late 1800s.
Sometimes you need an escape and the old fashioned library is the place you want to be. Of course the library is not so old-fashioned anymore, with activities for the children, speakers, computers, and help for research.
Just in case you were going to spend some time in the Barrie area, I thought I'd show a picture of the new library - the old one at the corner of Collier and Mulcaster Streets is now the MacLaren Art Gallery.
Ontario, and especially Simcoe County, is a land of rolling hills. We enjoyed trekking everywhere we went - Horseshoe Valley, Tottenham, Collingwood, etc. One has to be careful of giving soil under weight after rain showers.
While trekking, keep insect repellents ready. Some flying insects that we were unable to identify can really 'bug' you.
On slopes, ground can be soft, especially after rains (or thunderstorm) and sunlight is low. Its really difficult to take snapshots, except by using flash that makes beautiful background disappear in the photographs.
Keep wet wipes ready, because the forested slopes can be humid. Wet wipes will refreshen you.
Also readily available should be raincoats. In summers, thunderstorm can strike any moment.
Although this pix our kids at Canada pavalion of Epcot, we really enjoyed few hours of family adventure on 16 acre site of this museum located amongst tall pines. This was our first experience with Canadian native cultures.
We traveled in restored 1920's coaches, with an authentic, coal-burning steam engine at the head for an exciting journey through the scenic Beeton Creek valley aboard South Simcoe Railway's historic steam train. The return trip from downtown Tottenham to Beeton takes an hour and is exciting because of the Conductor's friendly and informative commentary.
Tottenham itself is worth exploring with a conservation park that offers swimmimg, picnic areas and camping, and friendly shops and restaurants just a walk down the street.
Observe Trumpeter Swans, frogs, turtles, muskrats, beavers and other marshland birds and animals on a boardwalk, natural trails, canoes, wildlife blinds or observation tower. But this could require lot of patience and if you are not careful, kids can lose interest easily.
Address: P.O. Box 100, Midland, Ontario, Canada L4R 4K6 at Highway 12 West, across from the Martyr's Shrine.