What in the heck!? I understand Kingsville got a shipment of these little buggers in…? I was under the impression that they were reserved for well wooded cottages way up in Northern Ontario. Well evidently not. I was in Lakeside Park last week and what I thought was a harmless housefly began to gnaw away at my anklebone. I am not sure how Southern Ontario came to inherit these little pests, although I think I can speak for everyone when I say we are not very excited about it.
If you aren’t sure what I am referring to – well here is a great little number that will illustrate for you where they might of come from, and where they need to stay; a National Film Board short by Chris Hinton:
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.
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’.
On Halloween afternoon I was doing my last minute snack shopping at Foodland on Main St, and I decided I wanted to get some popcorn to go along with my afternoon matinee of The Shining. I noticed it was a peculiar dark colored strain when gentleman spoke over my shoulder, “That’s a good one. The kernels stay dark and it pops up real nice and fluffy.” I was happy to get his input, and he seemed pretty confident about his food knowledge. So I went ahead and bought them… and he was right. They were delicious.
Later that evening, we were out with my daughter ‘Trick or Treating’, and we walked up a set of stone steps to a beautiful porch only to find the good gentlemen who recommended the popcorn. Turns out he knew even more about fresh fish; lake fish to be specific. He spent a good part of his life on a commercial fishing boat in Lake Erie, pulling in perch, pickerel and whitefish. He even had a couple Sturgeon stories to tell.
The man’s name was Garry Penner, he now works as a real estate agent for Sun County real estate here in Kingsville. When I asked him where to get fresh lake fish in town, he told me about his little spot, down by the ferry dock; it is called ‘La Nassa‘. They have a wonderful selection of local lake fish; including perch, pickerel & white fish; they also carry rainbow trout and east coast salmon. It is very nondescript, but it is marked with a white flag.
Their prices are quite reasonable (9/lb for perch fillets, $2/lb for dressed whitefish) and their service is friendly. I was also pleased to find out that La Nassa is currently the only Lake Erie processor to actively participate in the Ministry of Natural Resource’s “Tote Program”. This program constitutes full third party assessment of all lake Erie quota fish assuring our customers the highest quality fish.
Do go for a visit soon; and tell ’em Garry sent ya.