by John Mcculloch
The Fall excursion of the Citroën Autoclub Canada took place under nearly perfect conditions. It was a sunny, warm Saturday with a light breeze and not a cloud in the sky. The group met in Oakville, around ten o’clock, at the home of Chris Deja and John McCulloch. Coffee and cookies served as the initial fuel for our trip into the rolling hills of Halton County.
Assembled for the trip were Henry Saulus (all the way from Fort Erie), the Dyke family and Elizabeth’s friend Shaun, Larry Lewis, Dominique Rousselle and his friend Patrick, Peter Bartl, Lloyd McBride, Victor and Maria Alksnis and last, but not least, Trevor the Bouvier. The Lamb family joined us later in the day at Mountsberg.
A trip through Halton reveals not only its beauty but also its pioneer heritage. As you drive along, past the low hills in sight of the escarpment, you drive through “towns” called Boyne, Omagh and Carlisle. There are roads called Britannia, Milburough and Progreston. All along the way, there are signs of the activities of the region in the nineteenth century. One such spot is the Bethel Chapel (1853) a white wooden frame building mounted on a foundation of loose stones from nearby fields. Another is the mill pond at Progreston, once the site of a sawmill and the major industry in the early history of Halton County.
Our route zigzagged across the county heading in a north-west direction until we reached the Mountsberg Wildlife Centre. We assembled in the centre parking lot and were met by the Lambs who had made the trip from Hanover. After some refueling, some of the nature lovers in the group walked the many trails in the park, while others went out to the bird blind from which you can see a wide variety of waterfowl in a flooded region of forest. Still others repaired the carburetor on Peter Bartl’s 425cc 2CV and switched batteries between cars. (A consenting deal between Peter and Larry who concluded that their 6 volt batteries, one in Peter’s 2CV and the other in Larry’s Traction, were better suited to each other’s cars.)
After the walks and repairs, we gathered to see the Raptor exhibit. There, the two guides brought out a series of birds, a questrel, a hawk and a vulture. All of the birds at Mountsberg live in captivity having been brought there as a result of injuries suffered mainly in contact with humans. Because each bird is imprinted ie. used to human beings, it cannot be released into the wild. The guides introduced each bird and explained its habitat, range of territory, feeding and mating habits. It is amazing that such a range of birds live and forage so near to urban centres and yet remain almost invisible to most of us.
Following the talk at the Raptor Centre, the group left for Wyatt Road and the home of John and Sandy MacLennan. We parked our cars on the well trimmed lawn of the apple orchard in front of the barn. A lunch of hamburgers and all the fixings was served in the ruins of the old barn. This remarkably elegant setting was the finale to a wonderful day in the country. John and Sandy our affable hosts entertained the group with stories and little tours around the property. They also took many photographs of all the cars parked on their lawn. In my visits to their farm I have often arrived in one of my Cits. Each one has been duly photographed in turn. John has friends in France who are simply astonished at the seemingly endless parade of Citroëns that arrive at his farm. This batch ought to do them in completely.
The excursion wrapped up about four o’clock with the group heading off in various directions for home.
A big thank you to John and Sandy Maclennan for hosting our lunch and to John and Chris for organizing the trip. See you in the Wine Country of Niagara in Fall 2002!