Episode 277 – Adieu, Collingwood

Bittersweet is the perfect word to describe our impending departure from Collingwood. We’re very excited to board our plane to Berlin on July 2nd, but feeling somewhat melancholy about the fact that this is probably our last stay in Collingwood, which was our very first temporary home after selling everything at the end of July 2018.

Since then, we’ve spent part of each year here, including an unplanned extended stay during Covid, when we lived in 4 different condos to get us through the 20 months of travel restrictions that spanned the time between March 2020 and December 2021. We chose Collingwood originally to be close to son #2 and his family; now that they’re being posted to British Columbia, we’ll likely head west too – when we’re not travelling the world.

Collingwood has been wonderful. Beyond being only 20 minutes from our grandsons (when gathering rules allowed us to visit them) it’s a town with almost everything we look for in a place to stay, except perhaps big city theatre.

Our first summer here we discovered a wealth of outdoor entertainment: movies and music on the waterfront, jazz and blues at the old train station, the Elvis festival, Shakespeare in the park, an art crawl, community theatre, and more. All those things recurred each year until Covid, and all except Elvis are back this summer (although we’ll be in Europe while they’re taking place).

Events at the Shipyards Amphitheatre. Clockwise from top left: setting up for an afternoon concert; Shakespeare in the Park; the all-important ice cream truck that was present for every event; a glorious backdrop to an evening concert.

We’ve loved the proximity to Wasaga Beach, and our many afternoons and evenings enjoying the longest freshwater beach on the continent, followed by ice cream at Grandma’s Beach Treats…. and at Sunset Point, and Discovery Harbour, and… you get the picture.

We’ve enjoyed sharing the area’s highlights with friends who’ve come to visit: the giant Inukshuk at Sunset Point, the town’s museum, the Awen Gathering Place, the nearby restaurants and wineries of Blue Mountains. Episode 27 – Exploring The Hood – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

The giant Inukshuk at Sunset Point.

We’ve walked the trails and boardwalks, enjoying the wildlife and birds. This year, there are 28 swans making their home in the small bay near the Collingwood Terminals – not quite outnumbering the ubiquitous and often obnoxious Canada Geese, but definitely holding their own. In addition to those waterfowl, Ted has captured great photos of several kinds of ducks; large and snowy egrets; blue, green, and black-hooded herons; cranes, cormorants, plovers, orioles, and countless songbirds, as well as beavers, groundhogs, Episode 102 – Groundhog Day – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure muskrats, squirrels, and rabbits … plus a few turtles!

We never tire of watching the egrets, whether in flight, wading, or fishing.
A beautiful egret reflected in the bay.
Two swans in full flight. When they fly overhead, the “swoosh” of their wings is LOUD !
Blue herons are less common than the egrets, so Ted is always pleased to see one. This one in flight showing its delicate feathering is a particular favourite.
Another blue heron, pretending to be a sculpture. They can stand completely still for what seems like hours.
A green heron sauntering across a log in the marshy area by the boardwalk.
We were amazed and amused by the killdeer doing their “wounded” dance to distract predators from the location of their nests located on the ground.
Beavers in the creek….
…a muskrat in the bay…
…and a groundhog at Millenium Park.
Some squirrels are bolder than others.
Last year a Baltimore oriole made its nest along the path leading to White’s Bay.
It’s been a couple of bumper years for bunnies!
There are TWO snapping turtles in this picture Ted took from the boardwalk. Collingwood has volunteers who come out early mornings from May through November to check on the turtle nests located near the labyrinth, and place protective wire cages over them so that the raccoons don’t dig up and eat the eggs, but I’d be deterred just by the turtle’s penetrating stare.
The small painted turtles seem to especially like sunning themselves on the rocks in the bay.
Clockwise from top left: American Yellow Warbler in flight; Eastern Kingbird; Yellow Warbler in tree; American Goldfinch.

We’ve taken lots of pictures of the Collingwood Terminals, and will be watching from afar as the town decides their fate. In the 1970’s, when my family came to Collingwood en route to Wasaga Beach, the terminals were still in operation, as was the Collingwood Shipyards, which remain now only as the moniker of the housing development on their former lands. Episode 103 – DUCK! – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Top: the north side of the terminals as seen from the compass rose at Millennium Park. Bottom: the terminals viewed from the town’s waterfront.
The iconic sidelaunch process for completed ships built in Collingwood is memorialized in a mural on the side of the town’s Loblaws store at the main intersection of Hurontario Street and First Street (Hwy 26).

On our walks, we’ve been wowed by the wildflowers, Episode 28 – Summer Glory: Wildflowers and Song – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and chilled by the snow and ice, Episode 72 – Back to Collingwood – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but we’ve also been enriched by the acquaintances we’ve made and the opportunities for community involvement that we’ve had. Episode 33 – Winter is coming, we are going. – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

We were very lucky that the winter we had to spend here at Lighthouse Point was a mild one, where the snow was more decorative than dangerous.
Our most recent stay was the first time I’ve seen yellow lady’s slippers in bloom along the trails.

We’ve celebrated wonderful Thanksgivings here with our family. Episode 104 – Why COVID 19 can’t ruin Thanksgiving – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. We’ve been fortunate to stay in some accommodations large enough to host our family and friends – especially in the lovely townhouse that had a dining table able to seat 10 people comfortably (thanks Carm & Dom!). Our grandsons enjoyed sleepovers when we had extra bedrooms, swimming when we had access to condo pools (thanks Helen!), playing in the park at Sunset Point, and lots of nature walks.

We also unintentionally “hosted” some young bats in the patio umbrella!

We’ve been incredibly moved by the town’s annual Remembrance Day ceremonies. Episode 32 : Remembrance Day 2019 – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Episode 6.1 – Saying Goodbye to Collingwood – Rose and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

We’ve also used Collingwood, which has strong ties to Canadian Indigenous communities, as the jumping off point to re-explore some of Ontario’s earliest history. Episode 133

It’s been a great experience all round. No one really knows what the future holds, and whether we’ll someday return, but for now we’re grateful to have had wonderful times here and our farewell is definitely a fond one.

One of hundreds of beautiful Collingwood sunsets we’ve experienced over the past 5 years, this one viewed from the trail leading to Sunset Point.

16 comments

  1. Thanks for the lovely description of the joys of Collingwood. I’ve added it to our list of places to spend a weekend. Wishing you a wonderful time on your continuing travels!

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  2. Hi Rose
    I cannot believe that during the brief months we lived near each other we never got together. That’s poor performance on my part and I apologize. I look forward to reading this blog as I enjoy living vicariously through your travel at times. I wish you and Ted all kinds of success!
    Katherine Olsen

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  3. Enjoy Berlin. Be prepared it’s going to be hot! We just got back from France and it was about 34oC some days. Take plenty of sunscreen. It was great to visit with you last month. Keep up the blogging since we love reading about your adventures. Hope to see you if you are passing through here sometime. You know we do have extra bedrooms for you and Ed.
    Love

    Angela

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  4. Wow, I always figured when you weren’t in Collingwood anymore, it meant you would be closer to us…. But our west? Yikes for us! Guess you’ll have to come visit us in Florida or somewhere else in the future… 💔

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  5. I’m overwhelmed! 🥲 feels like Goodbye

    I remember the tour of Collingwood, was introduced to soft bagels, Ted’s letter, the history of the town and sheer comfort of being with dear, precious friends!

    The positive note – Blogs from far away places! Travelling with you! Hopeful stopovers. Love you

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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