Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shunpiking

Pronounced:  shun-peye-king meaning to travel the back roads.  A term coined by early settlers to avoid the toll roads or "pikes" and thus travel other, back roads to get to their destination.


My companions for the day - notice all the shades of white, gray
and "no" hair
The seniors group at my church, called room 55 meaning you can join at the tender age of 55, has a yearly spring outing.  Last year, we went to a mission organization called Ontario Gleaners where they procure vegetables, chop them up, dehydrate them and package them into soup mixes for distribution by missionary organizations to third-world countries.  This year, we chartered a bus and a guide (another over 55) to take us meandering through the back roads to "forgotten" parts of our local heritage.   I had my own idea of what this trip would be about and where it would lead us.


Our tour guide for the day
I thought we would travel along the outskirts of town on back country roads.  I was partially right and partially wrong.  Our first stop was a subdivision (no pictures taken) very close to the church property in a very developed area - not out in the country at all.  Our local ski hill to be exact.  Why?  Because (a) apparently it's the highest area on our local region and (b) is called a Kame, a deposit made by a retreating glacier thus forming what is now known as Chicopee Ski Club.  So right off the bat, I learned something new about the area I have lived in for more than 30 years.  It was actually formed by a long-ago, long forgotten glacier.

Next on our agenda was the Doon area of Kitchener, specifically after transgressing some more new subdivisions, the Doon Pioneer Tower.

Doon Pioneer Tower - and the new subdivision surrounding it
Interspersed on our travels was commentary of the local history.  Who had originally settled this area.  Where they had come from, culminating in this early segment of our trip, to a visit to the Tower, long part of our local history which I had never seen before, but was instantly fascinated with.  I'm sure the local residents must have thought that our big, lime-green tour bus was either lost or we were crazy.  Perhaps a bit of both?

As we meandered our way through town and around town, our guide pointed out various places which fascinated him, and which I also found intriguing, such as the stone house behind the stop sign on the left.




German cemetery
An old German cemetery tucked away in the corner of town.
Original German church established in the 1800's
An old German church, originally called St. Jacobs, tucked away at an obscure corner in the country







Noon day lunch break at the Crossroads, a popular, local buffet-style restaurant in Mennonite country was a welcome respite.

By the time we arrived here for our lunch break and a time of relaxation, refreshing and camaraderie, my mind was so full of information about our area that I didn't think there was any room for more - and we had an afternoon left to wander around Mennonite country.

This is where this post will end for today.  Next post:  second half of the trip.

Hope to see you there.

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