Our last day to explore Canada and we finally got the winter wonderland we’d been hoping for.
My Dad always likes to remind me how I once said, right before moving to Texas from Canada, that I “couldn’t wait to never see snow again”. Well I now eat those words as each winter I’d quite happily like to see at least a little snow. But only on weekends when I don’t have to go to work. And preferably on Christmas Eve when I can see it falling softly with the colours of the Christmas lights shining through it. And big, fluffy flakes too that you can make a snowman with. Is that really too much to ask? I’m afraid it is but at least on our last day visiting Canada I received part of that wish and the kiddo and I couldn’t have been happier when it started to pile up on the car while we ate lunch. I think out of the ten of us we were the ONLY two that were happy to see it. Oh well. :-)
This was the scene as we finished our lunch…
Despite the snow really making the roads into a slushy mess my sweet brother cleaned off his Canadianized-winterized 4×4 truck to take us out and around Guelph so we could see the last few things we wanted to visit.
Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate
Our first stop was the newly designated Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate. Built between 1875 and 1883 to serve a Roman Catholic parish of mainly German settlers, the church was designated a basilica just a few weeks before we visited by Pope Francis. In addition to its designation as a basilica, it was also designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.
Sitting on the highest point in the centre of the city of Guelph, this Gothic Revival styled church has caught my eye on every visit to Guelph but I’d never ventured inside until this trip. And on this day we were in for a treat! Organ practice was in session and the music completely filled the basilica- that’s as beautiful inside as outside.
John Galt, who founded Guelph in 1827, allocated this special place in the town for the church and according Guelph Public Library archives he wrote on the deed for the land that “On this hill would one day rise a church to rival St. Peter’s in Rome”. Imagine a place like that in little old Guelph.
McCrae House- The Birthplace of Colonel John McCrae
Long before L and I started planning for this trip we stumbled upon the fact that John McCrae’s birthplace was in Guelph and we knew right then that when we visited my brother we’d visit it. After visiting Essex Farm Cemetery in Belgium where he wrote his famous First World War poem “In Flanders Fields“, we thought it quite fitting to visit this home too.
Also designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, the tiny limestone cottage was built in 1858 and owned by the McCrae family from 1870 to 1873. Other families owned the home until 1966 and then a group of Guelph citizens bought the home to preserve it. It now serves as a museum with exhibits that describe the life of John McCrae. Unfortunately it was closed when we visited but the snowy memorial garden was very peaceful to wander around. I could also imagine it in summer with the leaves rustling in the wind and the flowers all in bloom. One day I’m sure we’ll make it back to visit again.
By now it was getting time to head back to the house because there were more card games to be played, snowmen to be built, and family fun to be had. We made a couple of stops along the way when we saw some things we wanted a closer look and photos of, which are the photos I’ll end with today.
What a wonderful trip we had to Canada to visit my family over the New Year and to explore lots more of my home country. I can’t wait until our next visit when I get to show L and the kiddo some more of Canada’s awesomeness. Just maybe not when it’s quite so cold! :-)
If you missed our other adventures in Canada and would like to start back at the beginning of our trip, please visit my “Exploring Canada:Trip Summary” post that kicked off the series with links to each of the posts from this trip.
Up next I’ll be sharing our weekend get-away in Bath, UK with a stop at Stonehenge. Stay tuned!