A visit to "Discovery Harbour" at Penetanguishene Bay Ontario, Canada
Whenever you are in the Georgian Bay area around Midland, we recommend that you visit Penetanguishene Bay and participate on a guided tour of "Discovery Harbour", a former British military and naval base.
Our brief web site shows you only a few impressions. We do not want to replace an actual visit. But we think that you should know what to expect.
For 2009, Discovery Harbour was open per the following schedule:
May 19 to June 26: open Monday to Friday (Tuesday opening on first week) 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; last admission 4:30 p.m.
June 27 to September 6: open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; last admission 4:30 p.m.
Our Guide gets disciplined
Naturally that was all fun and Elizabeth enjoyed it.
Already in 1793 the strategical importance of Penetanguishene Bay was recognized to protect trade between Kingston and the north-western part of this country.
Furthermore, necessary repairs on the involved ships had to be performed.
With the declaration of independence by today's USA and the following war the importance of the harbour increased and it was further developed.
In the year 1820 about 70 people lived here to maintain around twenty larger and smaller ships.
They were never used during the war and 1834 all occupants were called back.
During the time when the ships had to be repaired qualified craftsmen were required.
The young lady demonstrates some of the required wood working.
Der Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene
We were pleasantly surprised that all guides and "inhabitants" were dressed in historical costumes. Many of them were obviously students who found here a dream job. All of them seemed to have lots of fun.
They were very friendly and had good knowledge. All questions were answered.
Our guide was criticized because his clothing was not up to the required standards - at least that what I understood. His superiors used a strange English slang.
I assumed that this was part of the show!
It was a rainy morning when we arrived and we saw only a few visitors. However, this changed very fast before the guided tour started. Tourists from Australia and Japan joined our group.
The tour was not restricted to the relatively small harbour and the boats. We also visited many buildings to learn about the living conditions in this former British base.
Most of the buildings were reconstructions, but all of them were occupied and scenes of the live in the early 19 th century were shown.
It was interesting and fun to listen to all the details which were explained to us.
The living quarters of the officers and other important people were quiet different to those of the sailors or craftsmen.
The latter ones had to share one room in a separate house. This room was used for living, cooking and sleeping. In order to use the room efficiently the inhabitants had to sleep in hammocks which were attached to the ceiling.
The young "sailor" demonstrates how to get into and out of a hammock.
The payment for the lower ranks was obviously very low because they had to grow their own vegetables.
Despite the ongoing military drill the live in this base was pretty boring. For that reason excessive drinking was common and some of the people even deserted.
My question: How can a really drunk person get into a hammock? In my age and with my weight I could not do it at all any more. I think I had to become an officer or another high ranking person.
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