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Feb. 25, 2021 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Life in the Pandemic: Women get together to walk, talk and laugh a bit
Some of the walkers pause outside the old NOTL Court House. From left, Chris Earl,  Judy Mantle, Shelley Sansom, Margot Richardson and Marg Ketcheson with furry friends Stuart, Jay and Robbie. (Larry Mantle photo)

Editor's Note: Life since COVID-19 has changed things for all of us. We’ve experienced hardships, heartaches, and challenges, but also new and sometimes unexpected reasons to be thankful. This new Lake Report series shares some of the stories of NOTL residents as we all reflect on our experience of life in a pandemic.

 

Judy Mantle

Special to The Lake Report

Each Friday morning during this COVID winter, a group of women come together to walk, talk, laugh and share.

It's a chance to socialize, get some exercise, maybe forget about the pandemic for a while and see some of the sights that we take for granted around our historic little town.

Our numbers vary from week to week depending on the weather, life and work.

The group includes: Chris Earl, Jane Shrubb, Janice White, Marg Ketcheson, Margot Richardson, Martha Cruikshank, May Chang, Patty Garriock, Shelley Sansom and me. If more than five of us show up, COVID restrictions require that we split into smaller groups to walk. 

Of course, not to be forgotten are the dogs who often accompany us: Lala, Iris, Jay, Stuart and Robbie.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is an amazing town and what you encounter while walking is incredible, whether it's historic sites, great natural views or interesting people.

Here is the itinerary for one of our first walks:

Start at the Queen’s Royal Park Gazebo.

Pause at the plaque that recognizes incredible athletes who swam the lake. It's worth noting the number of countries represented and, of course, Vicki Keith’s multiple crossings, one the butterfly and one double crossing.

On we go to nearby Ball’s Beach, where the views are great. A conversation with a fisherman reveals a lot about various fish in our river. Depending on the time of year salmon, lake trout, brown trout and bass seem to be the favourites, with a lot of catch and release going on.

Remnants of the railroad turntable, a designated historical site, is marked with a plaque. Pause to read it and if a local is around thank them for keeping up this important landmark.

Head up the hill past the yacht club, now inhabited mainly by geese and a few brave swans, then down past the Admiral’s Suite, where a plaque commemorates the Niagara Harbour and Dock Company (1835-1853).

Not far away, at the Pumphouse Arts Centre, take a minute to really look at this beautiful building – and be thankful to the residents who saved it for us.

On to Navy Hall, where a monument to John Graves Simcoe and his wife Elizabeth was erected in 1952. Then head up the hill, along the ever-changing river, you'll find a bench with a simple inscription, BEA.

At this point, you choose, over to Fort George or head southward along the Niagara Parkway to McFarland House. Neither will disappoint.

There are so many routes, so much history, such incredible architecture and, best of all, the time to explore. We need a book on all these walks. Now, there's a COVID-19 project!

Our northern friends will remind you there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

Keep moving and stay safe.

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