After an entire week hanging around the marina waiting for the repairs to be completed we were happy to be back cruising again. We left on July 11th and spent the night in Merrickville, another quaint, small, Canadian town. Then it was on to Smith’s Fall’s where we had planned to spend just one night but, as often happens when cruising, we spent an extra night having run into a fellow cruiser who clued us into a couple of local attractions. So, off we went with Jorge and Barbara to a train museum and a quilting show, something for the ladies, something for the men.
The train museum was very interesting. They had the only travelling dental car. Now what may you ask is a dental car. Well, Canada, before there were many roads to rural areas, access was mainly by train. Towns were small, dentists non-existent. The dental car was a travelling clinic staffed by a trained dentist and a dental assistant. The car was equipped with a dental chair and drills just like any dentist’s office any of us has seen. It even had an x-ray machine and darkroom for developing the x-ray films. The dentist and his assistant had separate living quarters. The dental car service was retired in 1977, not all that long ago. Smith’s Falls also had a fleet of boats that can be rented by anyone including those with zero boating experience. The rental company is the same outfit that rents boats on European canals.
We moved on from Smith’s Falls and stayed the next two nights tied to a wall next to Chaffey’s Lock and Upper Brewer’s Lock. The locks are attractions all their own. Some, those near more populated areas, are a bit of a spectator sport. Folks spend hours just watching boats lock through. Other locks are like campgrounds. Boaters are allowed to pitch tents on the grounds of the locks as they travel the canal system. We have seen two young men travelling in a canoe. And then there were four women, mid-forties, who were on the last day of a nine-day kayaking trip.
On July 15th we arrived at the Jones Falls Locks, a triple. Knowing the Parks Canada had been warning of low water throughout the system and that they could only assure boaters of 4”9” of water depth through the locks, we tied up before the locks to take stock of the water depths. It looked skinny but doable. We went through with no problem but we did pump overboard three hundred gallons of drinking water to lighten the boat a bit. However, below Lower Brewers Lock we did touch bottom once, just a touch. From there we cruised on through the Kingston Mills Locks, four in all, and on to Kingston on Lake Ontario, the end of the Rideau Canal system.
Kingston, although smaller than Montreal and Ottawa is another clean, delightful, safe Canadian city. As we found in both Montreal and Ottawa, police presence is virtually non-existent. Why? Because the need for police services here is virtually non-existent, at least as far as we have seen. We have been in Canada for five weeks and have seen maybe three policemen the entire time. The block house in the picture is in the Kingston harbor. Two more can be seen across the bay. Block houses can be found on the canal as well. They were built by the British as small forts to protect the infrastructure.