Sunday, August 9, 2015

SUMMER 2015 Canada. Niagara on the Lake and Toronto, Part 1

OH  !
We had the delightful privilege and opportunity to spend about 2 1/2 weeks in Eastern Canada this summer.  We were invited to attend the Toronto Canada zone conferences and decided while we we up there we should see as much of that part of the country as we could.  It was a wonderful experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it in every way. May I just say here that the Canadian people are about the friendliest and happiest of any group I have met yet in our travels. I am so excited to share these adventures with you!


A BIG change occurred here in the Boston Massachusetts Mission while we were away in Canada.
Our incredible and amazing and beloved Packards finished their 3 years of service here and were released.  We were so sad that we missed their farewell.  (But we are looking forward to seeing them again often at our mission reunions!)

We can never say enough about these two devoted and fun servants of the Lord.  They were passionate about their family, their mission, New England, their missionaries, the Gospel, and the Lord and His work.
They were both brilliant.  They were both riveting speakers.  They were innovators.  They were tireless. I affectionately referred to them as the Energizer Bunnies. They are so loved. Thank  you so much Packard family for everything you gave us.  You gave us your all.

This was our last time together.  We were able to each squeeze in a few hours for a dinner before we left for our trip. 
We love and miss you and wish you all the best!

When we were at the Rochester New York mission last summer for zone conferences, we went across the border one day to see the falls and to check out a charming village recommended to us by the mission president and his wife- Niagara on the Lake. Remember? It is said to be "the prettiest town in Canada"? Well, we were enchanted by it and as luck would have it, it was right on the way to Toronto! And as that was our anniversary week we planned our trip so we could celebrate our anniversary there. (well, technically it was a few days later, but close enough!) We had a perfect time.

The Charles Inn
Where we stayed.

The grounds.

 The balcony off our bedroom.

The balcony overlooking the grounds and the golf course.

Our room.
And the Dr./Elder working away.

The view from the grounds onto the golf course.

As soon as we arrived we celebrated our anniversary with a lunch instead of dinner because even though I don't like tea at all (even herbal teas),I absolutely adore everything else that goes along with   tea parties, afternoon teas, or high teas. I love tea pots! I love drinking from tea cups!( and sticking out my pinky finger!)  I love the tiny, delectable sandwiches! I am crazy about fresh scones with clotted cream and jam! I love the little desserts!  I love it all! (except the tea :D !)
And Dale, being the good sport he is, granted my wish to celebrate here.
(Even though I embarrassed him when I asked for pink lemonade instead of the tea! He had herbal.) 

Walt Disney had a home not far from here and we were told that he patterned Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland after Niagara on the Lake.

Look familiar at all?  I tried to get a better angle that showed the town more but this was the best I have.  If you add in the Prince of Wales Hotel above this photo you can kind of picture it.

Well, the first time we were here and I heard that I thought it was referring to the shopping district, the town part only.  But after walking up and down and driving through several of the residential streets, I've concluded the entire village is included in the "prettiest town".

Perfectly manicured lawns, gorgeous landscaping, flowers and picket fences abounding. 
Looking down a street I commented to Dale that I almost felt as if I were in a "Stepford Wives" movie set- everything was almost TOO picture perfect. You know how Disneyland has Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland, etc.?  Well, if it had a Residentialand this would be it! We love it!

Even though there are many wonderful restaurants in town, a local  highly recommended we go try the food trucks so we did.  

There was live music, and it was a lovely night and fun atmosphere.  And while the rest of the food we ate wasn't that memorable , I REALLY liked my maple bacon donut!

 This lovely little roadside park is perfect for sitting and watching the sun set upon Lake Ontario.

And this ( greatly enlarged) is what you see on the other side:

As you know by now, we like to cram as much fun and as many sights as we can into each day.
We were only here for a day and a half but besides the above events we also managed to:

Play golf.

This is the oldest golf course in North America- Niagara on the Lake Golf Club. 
So, of course, we couldn't let that opportunity pass us by...Dale had to play there!
He hasn't played a lot of golf, naturally, while on our mission, but when he does he has some of his best missionary opportunities and shares why we are here and the gospel with those in his foursome.

Dine with a view.

Lunch on the patio overlooking Fort Niagara across the water. 


While Dale played golf, I explored the town some more.  It was a gorgeous day and a peaceful way to spend it.  


This area is similar to the Napa/Sonoma region in California and is covered with wine vineyards.  Throughout the vineyards and along the river and through forests and glens are several bike paths. 
We rented a tandem bike and toured away!

While I neglected to get a photo of the vineyards, the scene below followed along beside us for about half of our ride.

Fort George was right on the bike path so we stopped briefly to check it out. 

The large pointer is pointed at Fort George.  The pointer in the upper right is pointing at Fort Niagara, which was the view we had at our lunch. It was made of stone while Fort George was made of wood, so it was the better stronghold and ultimately more successful.  The one in the upper left is pointing at the remains of a fort that was on the golf course. 

After that full and fabulous day we bid our fond farewell to Niagara on the Lake and headed for the Toronto area and the first of our zone conferences the next day.

 Toronto Canada Mission
President and Sister Clayton
(enjoying a moment with their missionaries)

One thing that makes this set of zone conferences extra special and even more of a delight for us is the fact that we know the Claytons...very well!
Dale and Weatherford were in the same OB/Gyn residency together at UC Irvine and shared a medical practice for a while as well before deciding they each wanted a solo practice.  And even after that, they often worked closely at Hoag Hospital assisting each other, covering for each other, etc. for many years.  Why, what's even more important, Dr. Clayton helped bring two of our grandsons into this world - Ben and Beau Braithwaite!  :)  Thank you Dr. Clayton!

Here he is in his new role as mission president par excellence.  I just love seeing the rapt attention (see the elder on the back row leaning forward? sitting on the edge of his seat!) the missionaries give their president.  They just can't get enough and they love their mission president and his wife so much. 

A missionary (I believe) wrote a song that they put to a vote as to becoming the "official" mission song. 
It was impressive.  They loved it and all wanted to sing it right away. 

Had to show this one again because I noticed it after I posted it that Elder B is in the background doing his doctor thing!  
(He usually does it in a more private setting but I 'm guessing this elder just grabbed him and wanted to talk right there)

The following are snippets I took around the chapel where the conference was being held. 
I love how they show that the church is the same wherever you go. 

Beautiful bulletin boards.

Relief Society Printables! 
Love it!

Ward and stake events and activities.
The same. Check.

Primary Bulletin Board.
I love how the children's faces are turned towards Christ.

Ice Skates in the Primary room.
Wait! What?
Oh, that's right we're in Canada!  
I guess not everything is the same.

It was a wonderful zone conference, a wonderful reunion with the Claytons, and a treat to be among the missionaries serving here.  I've lots more to share about all we learned (and even a few things we taught), beautiful places we saw and even more beautiful people we met. But that will have to wait until the next post. 

As for now, I'm sure it is evident that we had every reason to go our way rejoicing here.


  1. Oh you know I love Dr. Clayton! What a pretty trip!

  2. Niagra on the lake is gorgeous! So glad you got to celebrate your anniversary with tea (or lemonade!) Wailea stared longingly at the picture and said "that's cute!"

    That one picture totally looks like Disneyland's Main Street!