How could I have forgotten Elora?
About a half-hour's drive northeast of Kitchener is the small town of Elora. Actually, it's a small collection of towns which include Fergus and Salem. All are small towns that adopted to the closure of their mills and other industries by capitalizing on the natural beauty of their stone buildings and their scenic surroundings, especially the famous Elora Gorge.
Elora is a town given thoroughly over to its tourists, but it still retains a strong sense of itself. You can't fake natural beauty, though you can drive it into the ground. Thankfully, Elora hasn't done that.
We were last here about six years ago, when Erin and I were still courting. My parents took us to the Elora Mill, which is now a restaurant overlooking the rapids of the Grand River. This time, we found ourselves a patio within an old stone building with its roof gone. We toured a Japanese/Korean store, bought milkshakes, and wrote under the blue sky.
My apologies for forgetting all of Northern Ontario when I was referring generically to the "north". I was really referring to the northern part of southwestern Ontario. Oops. No wonder some want Northern Ontario to become its own province.
I saw something interesting on my way up to Elora. Pulling up at a rural stopsign, I looked to my left and spotted the flashing lights of a convoy speeding along the intersecting road. In the midst of this convoy was something that looked like a flying saucer on stilts. It took me a second to realize what it was, and call Erin's attention away from her book.
It was the Midnight Sun, the solar-powered car the University of Waterloo races across Australia year after year. It must have been out on the test run. It was a good day for it: bright, with not a cloud in the sky. Even two months away from the summer solstice, the light stays with us well into the evening.
That car can go at a very good clip!