by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
Just North Enough To Be PERFECT...
The following is an excerpt from the City of North Bay website - "North Bay is a caring community of energetic, high-spirited people. Festivals, attractions and a wide range of special event activities blend with the natural attractions of the area. The combination of lush forests, spring-fed water and clean air creates a healthy environment for working, living and raising a family. Safe, friendly, well-planned neighbourhoods also make coming home a pleasure in North Bay."
"The following description of North Bay is based on our visits to the community."
My cousin, Jim Brien, lives in North Bay. Judi and I had visited him and my Aunt Jay several years ago, but had never toured the city. So when Jim extended us an invitation to visit him and the city, we gladly accepted. From Cobourg it’s about a four hour drive, give or take an hour, depending on traffic through Toronto and up to Muskoka. Much of the highway north of Huntsville is two lanes, but they were working to make it four lanes all the way and it won’t be long before it’s completed. (This article is written in August 2011, so when you read this, the highway might well have been completed.) Jim tells me that it should take about 20 minutes off of the travel time, and I believe him. It’s a beautiful drive, no matter how long it takes. Judi just couldn't resist jumping out of the car for a “photo opp” by the “Moose Crossing Sign”. North Bay is located on the shores of Lake Nippissing, Latitude 46* 18’ Longitude 79* 28’. They are in the process of rejuvenating their shoreline and harbour and it will be spectacular once completed. Jim drove us to the rejuvenated area to explore. We wandered to the long pier where the Chief Commanda was docked. To the north of the pier was a beautiful sandy beach where several swimmers where enjoying the sun and the waves. We walked out along the pier where ships are moored. We passed several people who had just finished their excursion on the Chief Commanda II. The waves broke over the pier and splashed against the cement blocks that formed the base of the pier making a large gurgling sound. We enjoyed our walk with Jim through many colourful gardens. The Sundial and was interesting to view and its history was interesting read the about. Judi managed to take a fantastic photo of white lilies, the likes of which we have never seen before. Next, we ventured across the road to the grounds of the North Bay Summer in the Park. To get there we walked by some of the Community Waterfront Park Development that was underway. There is an amazing walkway under the train trestle for pedestrians to stroll to get to the Train Museum location and other activities. The City calls the walkway, “Walkway to Downtown, Do it All Downtown”. Although the Summer in the Park was over, the North Bay Heritage Railway & Carousel was still going strong. It seemed the train engineers took their role seriously as young and old enjoyed a ride on the miniature train. As I mentioned, we took the tour of North Bay downtown, their Town Hall is a mixture of heritage bricks and modern glass reflections. We whisked by the Canadore College and its immense grounds. We drove to a quaint trading post that looked over scenic Trout Lake. Finally we our tour around the entire City. At the end of a great day, we traveled to one of North Bay's many wonderful family parks. Here we swung on a set of swings that were embedded in a Northern Ontario rock bed. We did this while we listened to the call of loons in a quiet bay. From the swings, we made our way along an outreach of rocks that slopped their way into Lake Nippissing. Near waters edge, we stopped to hear the wind in the gentle breeze of the evening and to watch the sun set as its glow sunk slowly into the horizon far away! It was a great day with Jim and exploring the City of North Bay.