Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bronte and a Big Dog!

Well, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to find photos to post about.  I'm going to have to go back to before Christmas, and even before the big snow.  But in the meantime, we were in Bronte, now a suburb of Oakville, for Boxing Day, visiting Mrs. F.G.'s 96-year old mother.  I was trying to get my walk in and find some fresh air, so I walked down to the waterfront.

The harbour is totally devoid of boats now, but in summer it's a very popular sailing area on the shore of Lake Ontario, with two crowded marinas.  Today it was just grey, all the way to the horizon.

It was that mild day in our crazy weather, but it had obviously been frozen, the ice floes still floating in among the docks.

Part of the harbour makes use of 12 Mile Creek, but the new outer harbour has been created by large breakwalls made of huge limestone boulders.  It was a pretty peaceful day on the lake.

There's a nice area of walkways, benches and open space beside the harbour and the creek mouth.  But I was surprised for just a moment to find a Fishermen's Memorial.  It only took a few seconds in my mind to realize that 'of course, Bronte was once a fishing village'.  That led me to read a little history.

Bronte's harbour was used for the flourishing lumber and wheat trade in the early 1800's, until that trade collapsed when the Grand Trunk Railway opened in 1856.  Then commercial fishing took over, with small boats fishing for lake trout, herring and whitefish which were packed in ice and shipped to cities like Hamilton, Toronto and New York.  Those fisheries collapsed in the 1950's.  The memorial is more a celebration of that commercial fishing heritage than a memorial for lost fishermen, though some did lose their lives out on the lake.

Today the former Bronte village would be totally unrecognizable to an earlier resident.  The original commercial buildings that we find downtown in all the small towns we visit have been completely obliterated here, replaced by modern multi-story condos and a mall or two.  A yuppified replacement for a formerly active fishing village.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, we woke up one morning last week to see some unusual tracks where an unknown animal had romped across our yard.  Eventually, after coffee and dog walk and breakfast, I went out to see what they might be.  This is one of the tracks, beside the front half of my own boot track.

These were absolutely enormous tracks, obviously not deer, but a member of the dog or cat family.  They were 3.5" wide and 4" long, considerably larger than our own dog's paw prints.  So I dug out my Field Guide to Animal Tracks.  I quickly learned that tracks of members of the cat family (like Bobcats, Lynx or Cougars) don't show their claws.  This was a dog family track; you can see the two front claws.  So I checked them against Coyote and Wolf tracks.  Well, we don't have Wolves here, and Coyote tracks are actually considerably smaller, rather like dainty dog tracks in fact.  So this is likely just a big dog that went wandering through in the night.  We do have some new dogs in the neighbourhood; I'll be watching.

Here's our own dog Roxie during the heavy snowfall of the big storm last week.  I think she must be part Husky; she just loves the snow!


  1. I've been in that part of Oakville on occasion. Beautiful along the lakeshore.

    Roxie looks adorable!

  2. Hi Furry...
    I live about 15 minutes from Oakville...
    Happy new Year to you!
    Linda :o)

  3. Oakville must be lovely in summer. Nice area.

    Quite a big dog according to that paw!

  4. She really must love the snow to stay out in it long enough to get covered. I've seen ice in the marina here in Bellingham because there is fresh water coming out of a storm drain, but in Powell River I've never seen ice in the ocean or lake marinas. - Margy

  5. The broken ice looks so pretty, we haven't frozen over yet. I have a lot of Christmas themed pictures but not much else, I need a road trip!!

    Beautiful images!!

  6. Another round of excellent photos. Welcome to the "scraping the bottom of the barrel club".

  7. Hello, the ice is amazing. Looks very cold there. I love the Husky, very pretty. Enjoy your day and weekend ahead! I wish you all the best in 2017, Happy New Year!

  8. Brrr! It does look cold with all that ice, and Roxie covered with snow. I think she must love it, though, she doesn't look unhappy at all. Nice pictures! :-)

  9. That looks like it would have been one huge dog, better to see the tracks than the dog.

  10. Cute pic of your dog! And I love your second photo of the ice floes.

  11. Oakville has such a pretty downtown, and well preserved (they have a very strict heritage society). It's too bad that Bronte was gobbled up and kind of lost its charm. I went to college in Oakville and my first job in a law firm was pretty much on the lakeshore there nestled in among an older residential neighbourhood. Beautiful old homes. You captured the greyness of this Christmas week perfectly! Not sure I would want to meet the dog that made that track. You always do such good sleuthing ;) If you hand't said your dog loves snow, I would have thought she was abandoned there. What a great crusty layer of snow she has!!

  12. I think that track is from a marauding Tyrannosaurus Rex. Might want to get your papers in order and your last wishes known......