By MAGGIE M, Editor, The Wedge.LIVE
When I visited Brockville, a mother and her two young sons, sat quietly taking in the sound of roaring waves, the grand view, their feet inches from the St. Lawrence River. The two boys became very animated as an enormous cargo ship entered into our view. “Woooaaa!,” they exclaimed. The ship was carrying light natural gas. The St. Lawrence is always on parade; all sizes and types of water craft float by and Brockville provides plenty of front row seats.
The city is located next to the Thousand Islands. It’s no wonder tourists plan a scenic cruise to the Islands. It tends to be high on the Where-To-Go list. This mother was fired-up about their upcoming cruise. You cannot see all this city offers in one day nor can you cover it in one story.
Two other personalities set high up above Brockville are better able to see the movement up and down the heart of the city and across its harbour. “Sally,” as she is lovingly referred to by locals, stands highest above all, atop the courthouse holding the scales of justice. She is the new Sally, as the former and original was damaged by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. She used to be blindfolded i.e. impartial; but, now she stands her eyes wide open. Robert Kerr, Smiths Falls, carved her replica without the blindfold, in 1982. This gives many pause.
A little way down the median at the crossroads, King Street and Court House Avenue, stands the Brockville soldier, crowning the War Memorial. He seems to be directing traffic down the road toward the harbour; so, I took his lead.
Both cast their eyes straight down manicured, Court House Avenue and Broad Street right to the harbour. The downward plunge from the Courthouse to the St. Lawrence is quite a sight.
It is said Simon Fuller built Tall Ships Landing as a legacy to his Father and Grandfather, prominent Ottawa architects of the highest order. The famous, Aquatarium, is housed in 27,000 sq. fr. within the complex. Imagine, somewhere inside are otters swirling in water tanks and visitors immersed below water, river life and scuba divers.
Something is about to kick-off this August 11th–a Brockville milestone. Canada’s first railway tunnel is about to re-open to the public. It will allow people to travel from the St. Lawrence to the Northern city limits in a truly atmospheric environment, lit by LED lighting. It is all paved and smooth for wheel-chair access. This great, new attraction is in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
This writer knows what our regular readers are thinking. “Where’s Maggie’s comedic take on things?” Well, Brockville had me in awe; but, I shall not betray you. In my exploits I discovered, Don’s Fish and Chips, another landmark in Brockville.
When I arrived, I was an annoyance with my question, “Is it farmed fish?” Bewilderment from the young man at the order counter.
“NO!,” came a voice from another room.
“Where is it from?”, I continued. The boss quipped with a little attitude, “The ocean.”
I felt like Mary Walsh torturing politicians.
“Is it from the Pacific or the Altantic?,” I continued. I waited for the boss to break. He was too busy serving a line of customers that moved quickly, including moi.
I watched Duncan Dewar, the current owner, perform a choreography I trust he has performed a million times, from refilling the chips through wrapping fish to handling payments. The man was on auto-pilot.
I wondered, “You must be half-dead when you get home.” He broke into laughter and let one of his staff report, “A few days ago he fell asleep standing up, mid-sentence.”
I know why this place is hopping and it ain’t just the fish, which by the way was delicious.
“Can I take a photo of you?,” I asked. “Sure, lots of people take photos of us.” So , here it goes again Duncan. You are a big fish in Brockville.
Enjoy a few more images of this extraordinary small city of 22,000–and stay-tuned for more.