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