May Long Weekend: Part 1

ImageIt’s a long weekend here in Canada (in celebration of Queen Victoria, a vestige of our colonial history that is now mostly an excuse for people to shake off the last remnants of winter cabin fever by drinking as much as possible) and, boy, what a weekend it’s been. If you’re Canadian or a follower of Jon Stewart on Twitter, you may have heard that the Mayor of my fair city is an alleged crack smoker. On top of that, recently appointed Canadian senators are involved in a spending scandal that seems to strike at the heart of parliamentary democracy in Canada. After such an exciting/exhausting news weekend, what’s a person to do except escape to the country?

And escape to the country we did! On Saturday, Keith and I rented a car and drove to the farmers market at St Jacobs. This market, and the village that hosts it, is located in central Ontario, home to the province’s Amish community, so it’s really common to see horse drawn buggies (and signs warning of horse drawn buggies) all over the place. The Amish also make incredible preserves, baked good and home crafts, which they sell at the market.

ImageThe market is now far, far larger than it was the first time I visited 8 years ago. As it’s become more of a tourist draw, the surrounding area has expanded to include an outlet mall, a Holiday Inn and a WalMart, among other things. I was incredibly disappointed to see the WalMart but, thankfully, the market itself remains mostly the same.

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The market’s vendors are crammed into two large buildings and scattered over a large parking lot. The inside of the main building is reserved mainly for local butchers, fishmongers, cheese shops and bakeries, and walking around inside will make you wish you were a millionaire with a bottomless stomach. There are so many beautiful and delicious things to eat and it’s so hard to decide what to get!

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The growing season starts a bit later in Canada than in other places, so there wasn’t much local produce to be had. But the few things that were available were absolutely gorgeous.

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(Live mushrooms!)

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In spite of the beauty and abundance of the market, my tolerance for large crowds is pretty low. Within a few hours, we had made our purchases and were ready to shuffle along to the next thing: bottling wine. Intrigued? If so, stay tuned for the next instalment of my May Long Weekend adventures!

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