Awatto and Environs

With my project almost done and some family in town, we took two days and did the standard tour of the city and its environs:

  • Places showcasing the abrupt transition from agricultural land in the broad river valley to Canadian Shield
  • Pakenham, for its arched stone bridge (one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County) across the (other) Mississippi River and for its ice-cream kiosk (against all reasonable expectation, not a Wonder, but still worth a stop)

  • The Mill of Kintail (a bona fide Wonder but less fun than the ice-cream kiosk for my money), where we noted the insects formerly known as Gypsies as both moths and caterpillars (Though they be tiny, yet they be mighty eaters.)
  • Almonte, with its weir (the usual torrent reduced to a trickle) and picturesque shopping area leading to a statue of Naismith and his peach basket
  • Parliament Hill, perhaps more interesting than usual while under construction, but also less accessible
  • Locks on the Rideau canal
  • Byward Market with its Beaver Tails kiosk and amazing flower baskets

Pakenham’s stone bridge


Shoreline vegetation


Digging. Through rock. Come back in a decade to see the result.


Staircase mural


Flower baskets and then some.

It’s good to see my city through other eyes: to revisit and re-appreciate its wonders, official and otherwise. After all, until this tour I never realized that each letter in its name is the same, whether seen forward and backward. I’m sure I’ve never lived in another place where that was true.


The “welcome to” implied, I’m sure.



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11 Responses to Awatto and Environs

  1. Looks like an excellent tour. Glad you included the Beavertails. (The ice cream store at the traffic circle coming into Almonte has always had EXCELLENT ice cream cones (i.e HUGE and not too expensive) Must admit I haven’t checked their offerings this year.

    There is another stair mural that is somewhat hidden. West side of the canal, coming up the stairs that are close to the War memorial from the canal.

    Glad the project is almost done.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – Good to know about the Almonte ice-cream stop and the other mural. I didn’t get any photos (it was dusk or close to it) but we saw a great blue as well as two black-crowned night herons fishing at Hog’s Back, also.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Great. photos! Thanks for taking us on a tour.

  3. Lorna Shapiro says:

    Thanks again for a wonderful visit!

  4. Interesting that the letters of Ottawa are the same from the back. A different perspective.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – That fact may even have had something to do with the placement of the sign, with long sightlines to either side (although a similar sign in Kingston is easily accessible on both sides, so who knows?). I don’t even think of letters in that way but wouldn’t be surprised if graphics folks do.

  5. You do what you do extremely well. Make sure whoever rewards you for the work you are doing knows that! Your photos, always delightful, also contain powerful metaphors. The arched stone bridge in Packenham County is a metaphor for the only person I know living in that area, a doctor of Scottish heritage and principles as solid as the bridge, whose specialty is palliative care–the bridge from this life to the next. He came out of retirement during the pandemic finding many opportunities to teach his expertise in this under-represented specialty.

    The staircase, an ascent and descent among artful flowers, seems to have been designed with people like me in mind, who could become so distracted by the art that the danger of falling becomes real. You have showcased that design with climbers that illustrate both psychologies.

    When I think of the joy a single blossom can bring, so purely expressed in your photo of the Eye of Day, the pub’s explosion of tiny petunias some call “A Million Bells” proclaims a superabundance of spirits in the best sense.

    These connections sing in my mind. Thank you!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – You see more in my photos than I do. As my mother used to say, everyone needs one such reviewer – and only one. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed them.

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