By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, theWedge.LIVE 💚 TO SHARE click icons at story’s end
It was around 9:00 am when this writer crossed over the first causeway onto Mille Roches Island, Long Sault Parkway, last July 26th. A few ‘early-birds’ were jogging and bicycling, but I basically had the park to myself. What followed was a deeply visceral experience.
I was last here as a toddler, a cheerful memory–however fuzzy–after so many decades. Long Sault was a family favorite. I now grasp my parents’s choice of this place–an oasis unlike any other. I rifled through my subconscious memory for details–I could only source sparkling emotions.
The Wedge is a champion of places less traveled–by reason of trumpets blowing louder from the most celebrated places. The islands in today’s missive are ostensibly under-explored by the wandering masses. We blow their trumpet today.
Long Sault Parkway became eleven islands by engineered flooding of the St. Lawrence in 1958. They are the hilltops of villages lost in its antediluvian remains. Among the islands’ hot spots : vestiges of highway 2 “where it used to be”; a popular dive site, Lock 21 submerged 30 feet; the Museum of Lost Villages.
Looking from a drones eye view, Long Sault is laid out like a necklace, a strand of amorphous pearls strung by causeways–eleven in total–clasped to the shoulders of the mainland. You could say it also has a pendant attached by yet another causeway, Snetsinger Island. Wales Island floats unattached–it is oddly not numbered among them.
English speaking folk tend to refer to the area as ‘Long Salt.’ The letters l and t are silent. There is no relation to salt, but it makes for a humorous interaction among locals–and a little eye-rolling. The appropriate phonetic is, Long ‘so,’ a French intonation.
My words may lead one to believe the grounds are wild, but they are in fact well maintained with endless spots to settle in for a day or a week. Two beaches, three campsites, endless picnic spots fill a need for respite.
Adventure surrounds Long Sault. Its western neighbor, Upper Canada Village, offers up an extraordinary historical experience. This attraction rivals the best of Disney. There is no need to risk being dematerialized by a time machine–you can go back in time by entering its front gate.
On the east side, the city of Cornwall–the third largest in East Ontario–can quell urban withdrawal symptoms, leaving Ottawa and Montreal out of the equation. The city offers a sprawling waterfront and in its core, worldly shopping and dining experiences.
I had been on highway 2 driving eastward toward Cornwall since 6:00 am, rubber-necking from the driver’s seat, occasionally stopping and capturing views. I slowed my pace with deliberation, taking-in nature’s waking glory.
I watched the sun rise. The shore seemed like jagged edges, silhouettes on the sun’s bright canvas. The world was very still.
The St. Lawrence River is always awe-inspiring–reaching down into your core. If you linger long enough, its rolling waves and breeze remain within you long after you depart.