Ryan & William’s Canada Blog: Week 1

Ryan & William’s Canada Blog: Week 1

We landed in early on Saturday morning in Toronto and met up with Matt and Jolande our hosts for the week along with their dog whisky who William tried his best to steal throughout our stay. We headed to the house and waited to meet the other exchanges, Christin and Angelika and have a quiet night in chatting and getting to know each other.

Sunday morning, we met Jordyn and Kelsey who took us into town to get supplies and anything we forgot to bring and then walk around a bass pro shop which was cool to see, we were impressed by the shear size of it. We then went to the food court and tried a local dish called a beaver tail which we both agreed was delicious, it is just a pastry with different toppings we got one with maple syrup and headed home for the night and had really nice home cooked dinner before greeting our Lauren from Northern Ireland on her arrival, which made everyone’s night.

On Monday we started with our first farm tour at a sheep and chicken farm ran by JFAO members Nick and Emily and their daughter Jade, the farm consists of 165 breeding ewes, 320 acres of mixed cropping and 30000 broiler chickens. We were given a fantastic tour of the farm and they even provided us with Lunch which was excellent. After this we toured a large orchard operation ran by Nelson Twaites, it was growing peaches, pears, seedless grapes and asparagus. We saw the whole farm from planting, to grafting them on to other trees and processing the asparagus and packaging it. After that, we went to Niagara on the Lake which is an old-fashioned looking town and walked around and had dinner in a British theme pub of all places where Nelson met back up with us for a drink

Tuesday started with Ryan and Lauren one of the other exchanges going for a wee 4k run in the morning then we all went for a hike near the 20-mile creek which was so nice and beautiful to see. After this, we went to the ‘180 Winery’ where we had a wine tasting and tried some excellent wines before going to Jordyn’s for dinner and we all got to see what is believed to be the oldest living maple in Canada. After such an active day we wound down and chilled for the rest of the night

On Wednesday day Ryan went to see the Balls Falls which and then went to the discovery park where we walked through the lacrosse hall of fame and had a go at it ourselves which was fun. Meanwhile William went to Forty Creek Distillery which made a normal single malt and rye whisky before walking the Devils Punch Bowl and helping Jolande and Matt do some fundraising; they collect grain samples that a mill would normally throw away and sort them out and sell them on. We collected about a ton of samples, so it works really well, we also helped with some chores at the house and went to bench brewers for some lunch and saw their locks for raising and lowering ships between the two Great Lakes. In the evening, we went to watch Jordyn play a game of soft ball which we thought was fairly similar to our rounders.

Thursday, we spent the whole day at Niagara Falls which was amazing to see and walk around different places such as the power station that stores the fall’s energy, we also went on the ‘Maiden of the Mist’ tour which was an incredible experience where you go very close to the falls by boat and really get a sense of the size and power of them.  After this we went go karting later on which was fun and finished the night with a few drinks in a country bar.

Friday was a bit more of a relaxed day, starting off with helping out with the chores around the house and helping Matt sort out some beds for fruit tree planting by carting some soil and levelling it out in the garden. We then went to Dillons distillery and tried a gin vodka, plum schnapps and absinthe. We then came home to find Matts friend had brought round his fire truck and gave us all a shot going in the basket which could climb up to 100 feet in the air. He then took us a drive in the truck to see George the camel who was rescued by his friend which was so cool to see. After this we drove to his cousins to see his classic cars and vintage steam engine then home to where all the exchanges cooked a dish from home. William made mince & tatties whilst Ryan made our famous pizza crunch which everyone was baffled by but enjoyed none the less. Angelika made cheese salad and Christen made apricot salad and Lauren made waffle berry pie. We then hung around the fire pit and had a few drinks to finish the night.

On Saturday we went paddle boarding which was so fun trying to stay on the board which we were both in the water just as much as we were on the board. We then came home and got packed up to head to our next host’s so first week done and can say it has been incredible and interesting. Next Week we head to Durham County.