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Stories from the road: Barrie

Melanie, Sabrina, and I (Alyssa) set out for the Barrie Native Friendship Center’s pow wow in good old Barrie, Ontario. We were excited to be up in cottage country for such a beautiful weekend, and the drive did not disappoint. In true road trip fashion, we blasted the tunes in our rented minivan, and cruised our way from Kingston to Barrie.

Now because we had to drive through Toronto on a Friday around 4pm going North on Hwy 400, we had to battle through cottage traffic. Now when I say ”we” I really mean Melanie because she jostled our little minivan through impatient cottage-goers on the 400 while Sabrina and I simply looked out for the Barrie off-ramp.

Once we got to our hotel in Barrie (a very nice Holiday Inn just off the highway), we unpacked our bags and headed out for dinner. We got lost – it happens at least once a trip – but Sabrina’s trusty GPS system on her phone led us back to our original destination, the Barrie Montana’s.

Now I have a tendency to get myself into awkward situations, and of course this happened while we were at dinner. First of all, a guy walked by us when we sat down and I simply assumed he was our waiter because he made direct eye contact with me. So I asked him if he was our waiter, and he no, but said that he did magic at the restaurant, and introduced himself as Seamus. Well, none of us believed him because that seemed weird, so when our actual waiter showed up, we asked him if a guy named Seamus worked there. He said, “Yeah, he does magic for us!”

So Seamus came over and did a whole bunch of magic tricks for us, and we were amazed that he was so good. He asked Sabrina what her birthday was, and when she said it was November 1st, he immediately pulled out two cards from a deck that said, ‘November’ on one, and ‘1’ on the other. We’re still trying to figure that one out.

The first day of the pow wow was great; a whole bunch of kids came over and were making cool structures out of our building materials, and completed pages from our informative colouring books; the Ojibwe was very popular this weekend, and we gave out a ton to parents, teachers, and kids. The children were very enthusiastic about our Engineering Challenges as well, and answered trivia questions about Engineering and their culture, made Inukshuks out of stone, and learned how to make a long house out of our building materials (which are simply straws you connect together- so cool!).

It was smoking hot on Saturday, and all of us were slapping on sunscreen so we wouldn’t get burned. Thankfully, we had our brand new cardboard engineering hats to put together and keep our heads cool. A lot of the kids liked putting them together, and we all wore them all day.

Melanie bought some beads from our neighbouring vendors (of course), and we all purchased homemade sweet grass candles from our next door neighbor, a man named Jesse. He was there representing his mother’s Art Gallery from Parry Sound, called G’zaagin Art Gallery, which means “I love you” in Ojibwe. They represent all Aboriginal Art in the area, run workshops for adults and kids, and it seems like an amazing place to hang out!  Here is a link to their beautiful website: http://www.gzaagin.ca

Remember to visit them if you’re up in the area!

On Sunday, it was a bit cold and rainy, but we didn’t mind the break from the hot sun. We had a bit more time today to check out the pow wow dancers and vendors, and we saw some wonderful regalia that was so unique.

We packed up and went on our way that night, driving through some rain to get back to Kingston. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and we look forward to returning next year.

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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