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With blue skies and sun, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to start our North American Study Tour. The majority of the class gathered at the Rural Ontario Institute parking lot and we are thrilled to reunite with our classmates, and to see that our chariot is NOT a yellow school bus but in fact a coach bus. After Andy McTaggart confirms that all are present -- although it takes a couple of counts -- we start off on the first leg of our journey. Meghan Burke introduces us to our bus driver Nancy Watson, who comes from a dairy background, has four kids and has had 36 years of driving under her belt – we’re in good hands! The journey begins!

These buildings are situated right by Lake Ontario and there are plenty of rumours and stories associated with these historic structures and the people that resided within those walls. The historic homes along the lakeshore are stunning. We drive by Sir John A MacDonald’s home, Bellevue House, complete with red roof. Apparently his stay in Kingston was limited as his wife was unwell. Another stop worthy of noting is Queen’s University. The campus is relatively large but what is striking is the old limestone buildings that impart a similar feel to the University of Guelph. Blocks away are the Frontenac Courthouse, as well as the Sir John A MacDonald Park. After our tour, we search for a park to enjoy Colleen’s picnic lunch and find a historical waterfront park surrounded by modern conveniences and a diverse mix of Canadians all enjoying the picturesque sites. Lunch is delicious -- and who couldn’t turn down fresh strawberries and brownies!

With a couple of hours to kill, some of us venture down the city streets of Kingston. Many cafés and bistros in the area are located in old historic buildings which add to the ambiance of the city. There is no question that Kingston is a tourist draw with many taking in opportunities to experience a multitude of activities. With Canada celebrating 149 years as a country headed by countless leaders, some well known and others less so, all had the best of intentions of creating a better future. This is what has brought all of us together as AALP Class 16 and one can’t help but wonder what mark we will make on our respective journeys through life.

A tour of Kingston wouldn’t be complete without a boat tour of the Thousand Islands which is actually made up of about 1800 islands. Homes fronting onto the lake start at about $1,000,000, although we suspect these are hard to come by.This area is certainly not where you would find a starter home! Our boat tour takes us around a good portion of Wolfe Island. It boasts a strong agricultural sector. Wind turbines throughout the island capture the strong winds from the lake and provide renewable energy. Residents on the island no longer have to follow the Christmas tree lined path across Lake Ontario to get to the mainland, as a ferry service runs year round. With the sun still shining, today couldn’t be a better day to experience being out on the water. Time to head back onto the bus and make our way to Montreal!

The perfect end to our day involves the tastiest chicken and ribs at Bar-B-Barn, a local family run business. The day flew by but we are looking forward to more adventures!

-Class 16

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