I had such a wonderful weekend discovering a little more of Ontario. Gina, Maria and I have been speaking about getting to St. Marys (Gina’s hometown) since we met at work in 2013, and we finally made it happen!
St. Marys is a small town (described by Gina as having three major streetlights), but it has lots of history. Known as The Stone City, limestone has played a huge part in the settling of this town. The quarry created a lot of jobs, brought people to the town, and provided limestone for all the new buildings.
Once the quarries were mined of the limestone, they let them fill with waters, and now one of them is the largest outdoor swimming pool in Canada. The other quarry is closed, but people do fish there (at their own risk). Allegedly they are connected under the road, but Gina admits that could be a myth. However it is deep enough to go scuba diving.
We only had time to drive by the quarry, not actually stop, so here’s a promotional picture off the internet. It really is that big.
After driving by the quarry, we went to Gina’s house, and were surprised by a beautiful brunch spread, put together by Gina’s lovely mom Laura.
And then we were off! Gina came up with quite a schedule for us, and we wanted to ensure we had time to see everything she planned for. We started with a walking tour of the town. Gina lives on Church Street, which, as its name suggests, is the home to many churches.
We found the world’s smallest farmer’s market and got some lovely warm apple cider, because St. Marys decided it was winter. Also, we were headed to the Thames River and suspected it’d be colder there.
This section of the Thames River used to feature a flour mill, so they kept one of the gears to remind everyone of the town’s history.
Next up was Little Falls! Gina was insistent on the fact that we had to visit St. Marys while the leaves were still on the trees, and it was clear why – the changing colours just add so much to this already beautiful place.
From here we started to make our way to that big bridge you see in the distance. We passed Trout Creek (where there actually is no trout but lots of tad poles and salmanders).
And Millennium Park, which as big as it looks.
Next up was The Flats. It’s a baseball field, and also the home of a very large nativity scene at Christmas. They’ve already started setting it up and it’s only mid-October.
And then we made it to the Grand Trunk Trail! Saint Marys used to exist on two rail lines: Sarnia and London. The Toronto-London train still runs, but the Sarnia train doesn’t run anymore, so they’ve turned it into into a really beautiful walking path with a bridge. We explored the trail under the bridge, then climbed up and did some exploring up top.
Apparently this section of the Thames River looks like Winnie-the-Pooh. Maria and I couldn’t see it, so Gina demonstrated where the ears and his honey pot were.
We walked down to the Toronto – London train track, and checked out St. Marys’ train station.
Unfortunately closed for the season, Hearn’s Ice Cream has been declared real ice cream by Gina, the likes of which we don’t get in the big city.
For the last spot on our morning tour, we hit the library to check out their book sale (c’mon we all work in publishing, we had to go to the library!).
And then lunch at the cutest restuarant, Little Red’s. Seriously so cute, and so delicious!
We spend the afternoon supporting St. Marys economically. I’m pretty sure someone purchased something in every store we entered. Here’s the downtown core.
And then it was back to Gina’s to get the car, and move on to our last stop of the day …
…which was McCully’s farm!
We arrived after the fall festival finished, but they still let us go back and try the corn maze, and it was actually so fun.
It was a seriously fantastic day, and I’m so glad we finally made it happen.