Thursday, June 25, 2009

24/25 Port Hope, Cobourg & Prince Edward County ON

Came off the 401 and dropped in to see the very pretty villages along the lake as you approach Prince Edward County. Port Hope is a gorgeous, brick village of Georgian architechture lined with flower baskets. Only a couple of hours out of Toronto and still along the shores of Lake Ontario, we are back in farmland, strawberry fields and canola crops. Cobourg has beautiful beaches and is another pretty village. We kept driving to historic Carrying Place and camped in Welland Bay. Aside from the largest mosquitos I have ever seen, they spray blood up to 3" wide when you kill them, Prince Edward County is very pretty and full of loyalist history. Discovered the Trent, Severn Waterway, a huge hand dug canal joining Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, a huge feat and now a great pleasure boat vacation route.

We loved meeting Quebecors Rael, Diane and Amelie and they have helped us all brush up on our french. Unfortunately their invitation to join them for a boat ride to the huge Sand Dunes Park had to be cancelled when the weather turned too windy. Instead we explored Picton and Wellington, both pretty villages and lovely Georgian architure, with many homes proudly displaying the Union Flag (no red diagonal cross) and the Canadian Maple Leaf. All very patriotic. Even the Highway is called the Loyalist Highway.

Quick history lesson. Things I learned in Prince Edward County.
In 1600 the Union Flag only represented England and Scotland and the red diagonal cross was not added until 1800 when the Irish component was added. Of course Wales was not and is still not represented on the Union Jack. Strictly speaking the Union Jack can only be called "Jack" when it is flying from the bow of a ship! And not when flying from a land based flag pole.
This is loyalist country. British North American's wishing to remain loyal to England and the King fled here in the 1770's around the time of the 7 year war, the Boston Tea Party to seek the protection of the British here. Originally, they were hopeful of returning to their original homes, but as it became apparent that after the formation of the United States of America in 1776, that would not happen. Honored with the UE initials displayed after their names, the United Empire Loyalists were each given 200 to 400 acress of land along the lake here to aid their re-settlement and to fortify the lakefront against a possible American attack. This proved to be a good strategy which had a strong impact on the outcome of the war in 1812. In the many battled that were fought during this time, apparently the British advanced as far south as Washington DC. Each child of a UE was also awarded 200 acres upon turning 21. Descendants of UE are still permitted to use the UE title, but it no longer comes with 200 acres of land.

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