Point Pelee National Park

Remember summer? I know it is easy to forget, living in Canada (even at the southern tip), although it isn’t far away now… I’ll tell you; I was going through some photos of last summer’s trip to Point Pelee National park, and wow was I taken by how lush it is.  It is amazing to think that those trees are near bare just a few months earlier.

Sadly, in Essex County, about three percent of the total land area remains wooded. The largest natural area in the county lies within the boundaries of Point Pelee National Park

The park, which spans 20 square kms, is home to some of the most diverse species of plants and animals, more so than even the biggest of Canada’s national parks.  Namely, more than 370 species of birds have been recorded in Point Pelee and the surrounding area, making this one of the premiere birdwatching locations in North America.  Each spring birdwatchers from all around come to participate in the Festival of Birds.  Ironically, commercial fishing was allowed in the park until 1969 and  Point Pelee was the only Canadian national park to allow hunting until it was abolished in 1989.

Most Americans wouldn’t believe you if you told them Point Pelee’s latitudinal position is the same as the northernmost counties of California.  The climate is mild and reaches average highs of 27 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) in July.

When you spend the day at the lush, gorgeous park, it makes you appreciate that 3% of preserved land we are clinging onto in Essex County… it kind of makes you wish we preserved more.

Learn more about Point Pelee on the Parks Canada web resource.

Fantasy of Lights

To kick off the Holiday season, the Town of Kingsville put on an excellent show down at Lakeside Park. As part of the 18th annual Fantasy of Lights, Mayor Santos and 300 or so Villagers donned their toques for the traditional ‘flipping of the switch’ which illuminated the many wire light sculptures that line the park.  The evening was highlighted with a visit from the acutal Santa and Mrs. Claus.  If they weren’t the real ones, they were the best impersonators I have ever seen.  They showed up in an ambulance, which I found a little strange, although it did go off with a lot of fanfare.

Children from the local elementary school sang carols to kick off the musical portion of the festival, which continues throughout the season with 24/7 holiday music on the loudspeakers at the park.  I can hear it from my house.  I think this is awesome for the spirit of the thing, although I wouldn’t want to look at that electricity bill when it is all said and done.

For the Grand Finale, the crowd was then treated to a half hour fireworks show, comparable to any other I’ve seen.  For a small town, this place has a lot of POP.

More info on the festival: fantasyoflights.ca

The Apex

Jim Gaffan started working with his Dad at The Apex Barbershop on Main Street in Kingsville in 1954.  As odd as it might seem, the business was threatened by the Beatles in the 60’s when the band brought long hair to the mainstream, however the business persevered and he and is two boys are still cutting hair at the same location nearly 60 years later.

Despite the look on this boy’s face, it is an enjoyable visit.  It smells to the hilt of man tonics and shave cream, and the mirrors lining opposite walls make the room look like it goes on forever.  I took a visit after not visiting a barber for nearly 10 years and I’ve been back regularly since.  Like Jim and his boys will tell you ‘real men go to barber shops’.

Join their group on Facebook.


Last night was a great night on Main Street.  The Kimmerly’s invited Toronto hip-hop artist (arrested at the G20 protest) Testament to rEvolution Gallery for a live performance.  The majority of the audience were under the age of 10, and were treated to a politically charged and inspired performance by the young Scarborough native.

I was a little surprised that he (Testament) didn’t edit his set by inserting a ‘flipping’ or ‘dang’ instead of the many expletives he spat out, although since his delivery was honest and authentic, I have to forgive him for that.

The 5 Kimmerly children were in attendance with their mother Tamara and their father Qpaukl, who run the gallery.  Qpaukl is the town tattoo artist and Tamara is a clothing designer – they both work out of the rEvolution space.

Jedi Kimmerly

This is the kind of event this little town needs more of.  It embodied community, youth, music and art;  not to mention it was affordable entertainment for the family.  Did I mention there were free celery sticks?  Thanks again to the Kimmerly’s.

The Harrow Fair

This showcase for Agriculture and Livestock in Essex county has been in existence for 150 years.  There were long haired rabbits, emus, ducks, geese, of course cows, goats and sheep; horses and every sort of show hen imaginable.  My favourite thing is that there was a room specifically for eating pies; blueberry, pecan, bumble-berry, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, apple and so on…  and the produce contest was outrageous;  I’ve never seen fruits and vegetables so large in my life.  There was a watermelon the size of a pig, and a pumpkin bigger than a Volkswagon Bug.

Fanfare aside, this event opened my eyes to some really beautiful animals.  One in particular was the Jersey cow.  What an elegant looking being.  They are a small breed of dairy cow.  These ones in particular had short chocolate-hair, and they were lean and long.  I’ll tell you, this visit made me think that India’s got it right. The resources that the animals provide with the milk and in turn the cheese, yogurt & cream give them such a value; and their calm demeanor.  It seems like a shame to slaughter them.

The day was topped off with a ferris wheel ride.  We got the see the fairgrounds from a couple of stories up.

What a pleasant day.

See you there next year.  I’ll join you for some pie.

The Kingswood Inn

Kingsville is a great place for amazing Bed and Breakfasts.  Century old homes have been converted to lovely little nooks for a pleasant night’s stay and breakfast in the morning.  There are many, some of which you will find listed on this directory.

This one however is a mystery.  The Kingswood Inn, is a beautiful historic home built in 1859 by Col. James S. King, after whom Kingsville is named. It sits on 3 acres of land on Mill Street between Laurel and McDonald. The lot is enclosed by a stone fence, something you don’t often see.  It was at one time it was a functioning bed and breakfast, although now the family who owns it just chooses to live there, and no longer conduct a full service B&B.  They do however rent out a guestroom.

I went to an excellent garage sale one Saturday afternoon on the front lawn of the Kingswood, and my 2 year old daughter had to go pee.  I was excited about this since it allowed me an opportunity to see inside.  It was exquisite Victorian decor, with high ceilings, rich wooden adornments and intricately patterned rugs.  I would love to see this open again, although in the meantime, it is worth a visit merely for its cultural and historical value.