On Tuesday, we hired a car again and set off heading north east, up around the other side of Lake Simcoe to Kawartha Lakes. I say car, the car company called it a van, so we were a little unsure what we booked. A van to the Canadians is a people carrier to you and me.
Our first destination was Ye Olde Gaol Museum in Lindsay. We found it fairly easily and pulled up pleased it didnt seem to busy and it was a nice sunny day. It was closed. We drove an hour and a half and it was closed. Luckily, the story doesnt end there and when we rattled the door in despair, a man came out and said we could come in anyway as he was there working. The old jail closed in 2011 and is now a very varied museum. There were exhibits on railways, some mini furniture and dolls houses, old spinning wheels, photography, a sort of shrine to Neil Young and, of course, prison stuff.
The old cells were there to see with information to read and also an old ball and chain that we could pick up. The pictures of the cells show on the wall where the cells were layered to stack up to four prisoners in one cell to increase capacity.
The last person to hang there was in 1924 – it seems his fiance felt she was too young to marry and he thought the best solution to this problem was to shoot her 5 times. It was a shame that there were no gallows outside to see. Apparently, there was bodies buried outside in the exercise garden if they had noone to claim them. I would also have enjoyed to see these skeletons dug up and displayed.
I enjoyed looking around this jail and hearing the stories. I felt that they could make so much more of it by displaying some more prison paraphenalia and taking a few pointers from the Kingston Penitentiary Museum. I would also have loved a book on the prison or on prisons and past correctional facilities to read – neither of the museums had one.
We then drove north and continued our travels heading for Fenelon Falls. We stopped for lunch overlooking this small waterfall and I was delighted to find battered mushrooms on the menu. Breaded mushroom might be an Englis pub favourite (and mine), but this doesnt seem to have caught on in Canada. I was as happy as Larry was. God rest his soul. Fenelon Falls was a gorgeous area and we had a drive around checking out the houses by Lake Cameron and taking photos of the view.
After Fenelon Falls, we followed the road along by Lake Cameron heading for Coboconk. We were hoping to find a beach to sit on, but it was not to be and is hard to find beaches or places to sit when you dont know where to go up there.
We found one very bizarre place with signs outside advertising it as the Bates Motel and a Walnut Redneck Chrch. It was like something off a creepy film! It is one of the few occasions in life where I stared open mouthed and speechless. We drove in to look and the people were actually very friendly giving us directions. They have a website here, but the pictures dont seem to match what we saw! It is worth a look at the website to see how diverse the place was!
The road took us up to Lake Balsam and Coboconk. Home to what claims to be Canadas smallest jail. It was indeed miniture and research tells me it only had two cells. Unfortunately, it was closed and there doesnt seem to be much information around other to say when it is open, other than to say the opening times for July and August. It was nice to see and cute and quaint looking looking little building. Coboconk itself seemed a lovely little area, again with lots of lovely houses on the Lake.
It doesnt end there though. We stopped and visited some Canadian chain stores. We had a good poke around in Canadian Tyre – I bought a hockey gnome, now called Chuck. We looked at the vast array of halloween props in Dollarama and enjoyed checking out the bins of chocolate and sweets in Bulk Barn.