Day 35 – July 11 – Ottawa, ON to Sherbrooke, QC

Today was primarily a driving day. There were not a lot of things to see along the way and we avoided the major highway and drove along lots of country roads through many towns, farms, orchards and vineyards.

We only made three short stops. First was into the parking lot of a Roman Catholic Church that had a really tall spire in Cornwall, ON. We also noticed a historic marker half hidden in the plants on the side of the hall building.

The church turned out to be the oldest remaining stone structure in Ontario. It was built in 1801.

We crossed the street to check out the historic cemetery and find the grave of Simon Fraser, whom we learned all about in elementary school history and geography.

Simon Fraser’s wife was a MacDonell. The historic marker we noticed beside the church spoke of an early settler named MacDonell who arrived from America with his father and the rest of his family. The cemetery was full of the graves of MacDonell’s. They were Loyalists and received land for their military service against the Americans

The marker says he was ‘killed by the falling of a tree’ in 1799. This is the oldest tombstone in the cemetery that is still legible.

This is a replica of the first Roman Catholic church that was built on this site in 1784.

There was a low stone wall around the cemetery and a plaque that said that it had been restored in 2007 with financial assistance from the Province of Ontairo, the Hudson’s Bay History Foundation (many of the people buried here would have been fur trappers and traders for the Hudson’s Bay Co.), Simon Fraser University (in BC) and many private donations from the community of Cornwall. I thought it interesting that the University in British Columbia that bears his name would send money to Quebec to help restore a wall around Fraser’s burial site.

Our second stop was a bit of a detour. While passing through LaColle we went 8 km off our route to drive up to Fort Lennox National Historic Site. We were able to go into the visitor’s center but the actual site of the fort was closed for restoration. It was planned to be re-opened in 2020 but Covid hit and that delayed the work for two years. Tentative opening is now next summer. The Fort is on an island and when it is open you can take a boat from the Visitor’s Center over to see it. The restorations will be quite extensive to the original buildings to repair foundations and deteriorating stone blocks and fix old windows.

The French built a wooden fort on the island to protect themselves against a possible British invasion via Lake Champlain during the Seven Years War in 1759. Britain took the fort after a 12-day seige 1760 and promptly abandoned it because there was no longer a threat. After the Americans attempted to capture Quebec City in 1775-1776 they retreated to Lake Champlain so the British, worried about another attempt, built a fort that was smaller than the French original. Between 1819 and 1829 a few hundred soldiers and workers built Fort Lennox. All of the buildings on the site are the original ones from that time. The Fort was surrounded by a Star moat.

This is as much as we could see of it across the water with a zoom lens.

The Fort Lennox Visitor’s Center was at the end of a spit of land that jutted between two waterways with houses and many beautiful boats.

We backtracked the 8 kilometers back to our required road but made a quick photo stop at an old wooden Blockhouse located almost at the junction.

These two churches were side by side at a road junction. I did not have time to see the denomination of the one above. The one below is Baptist.

We were on a narrow winding road and there was no traffic so when we saw this lovely reflection we just stopped and took a couple of photos.

Most of the roads we drove today were normal two-lane roads but for about 20 km were on this one that was quite narrow and had lots of turns. The road had been prepped for re-surfacing so was pretty rough, otherwise it would have been a great motorcycle road. I bet the local bikers like it.

We arrived in Sherbrooke at 5:30, checked in to our hotel and headed down the road to find a restuarant for dinner. At the time of this writing we have not decided where we will spend tomorrow night.

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