Of murals and boaters and butter tarts

Fred Lenz was the dude who decorated the Archer Daniels Midland grain elevator with the pleasing mural—included in our last post—depicting one of those times a Jesuit missionary advanced the threat of fire and brimstone as motivation for the natives to donate beaver pelts and colourful blankets to help the Church fund construction of a huge ornate basilica in Montreal.  Actually Lenz died halfway through and left his sons to fill in the blanks, but before he did he finished a bunch of other ones around town.  They’re kind of famous now.  Here are just a few.

Most of the murals document scenes from Midland’s history.  Here’s one of a lady with a cat sewing in a window above the shoppe where Dana purchased chocolate-covered butter tarts.

Speaking of butter tarts, Midland hosts an annual Butter Tart Festival that draws folks from around the country.  They sold some 200,000 of ’em this year.  Plus contests and games and music and whatnot.  We’re sad we missed it.  Dana does love a good butter tart.

We also love pizza.  Dillon’s has great food, and the owner chatted with us at length about boating and restaurants and post-industrial revolution theories of management.   Know where we wouldn’t get pizza?  That’s right, at a repurposed and unattended Redbox kiosk.  Bizarre.  If it can crank out a hot pizza in three minutes, we give it about a week before it catches fire.

In the same “bizarre business concept” vein, Midland has the first catnip dispensary we’ve encountered.  It’s not a front for pot either.  It’s just cat stuff, including curated “catnip from around the world.”  Fred Lenz almost certainly didn’t paint the psychedelic cat mural.

Anyway, the marina is about two kilometers from downtown, which meant multiple strolls and scooter rides along the peaceful green path between the two.

Friday evening we headed over to the Boathouse for some live music.  Karla Crawford has a great voice.

The highlight, however, was when Karla introduced the two guys in her band as being from Huntsville.  Someone in the crowd trying to be funny yelled “Alabama?”  Karla immediately said “No, Huntsville, Ontario.  They have all their teeth.”  Everyone laughed.  Doug rushed to the tip jar with money.  Even in Canada, they know what’s up.*

Midland overall?  Awesome town.  We looked up houses for sale along the waterfront.

Wisdom demands not traveling in crowded areas on summer weekends, because every ding-dong with more boat than brains is out bashing around.  But we needed to get to Port Severn yesterday, so we left Bay Port behind anyway.

Approaching the treacherous Potato Channel, about a dozen boats of various shapes and sizes zoomed past at unsafe speeds and distances, but we made it.  Approaching the treacherous Highway 400 bridge, the current from the dam pushed us around but mercifully the lock on the other side regulated traffic so as to give us an opening and we made it.

Our first TSW lock of the year technically is Lock 45, but we’re going the wrong way so for us it’s Lock 1.

Somewhat predictably, after the lockmaster announced that he’d be taking only Tumbleweed and a SeaDoo through, Mr. and Mrs. Ding-Dong ignored him and jammed their toy boat in, riding our fenders along the way.  Grrrrr.  Deep breaths though.  We’ve got a lot of this ahead.

After significant docking funny business that culminated with the dockhands-in-training disconnecting Lesley’s Idea from shore power and moving her down the dock—all without notifying the startled occupants—we finally tied up.  Escape from the ordinary indeed.

Port Severn is tiny, but of course it has an LCBO.  There’s also the “Wonderful Flying Time Machine,” which is nearly as ridiculous as a pizza kiosk.  Yes, Port Severn has one of those too.

Whatever.  The goal was to reach Port Severn before Brad and Kate arrive, and we did.  They get here this evening.  Tomorrow, Big Chute and beyond.


*Although college football is still five weeks away, hating Alabama is never out of season.  And Florida.  And Georgia.  And Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan.  Oh, and Clemson and USC.  Plus a few others.

4 thoughts on “Of murals and boaters and butter tarts”

  1. Go Gators….
    We enjoy your blog. We are planning on doing the Trent next May-June like a salmon going to spawn or I-75 going the wrong way….. LOL!!

  2. “And every mile I leave behind me
    is like a hundred dollar bill.
    You know I might come back to get ’em
    but I probably never will.” -The Band of Heathens

    1. Except with boating, there’s no recovering that hundred per mile even if you go back. It just costs another hundred.

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