Yonge Street is most definitely not the longest street in the world. Five-pin bowling was invented in Toronto and first played on Yonge Street near Temperance. All this makes perfect sense if you think about it and you know where I am going, but no one does so I will tell you.
Yonge Street starts at Lake Ontario at Front Street and finishes in Barrie where it dead ends at Essa Road about a kilometer from Kempenfelt Bay on Lake Simcoe. I have driven this route many many times, sometimes because I was forced to and sometimes just out of respect. You gotta do what you gotta do and respect is king. But respect to who? Not to Yonge Street itself or to Sir George Yonge, who the street was named after. Even though Sir George was an expert on ancient Roman roads, he does not deserve my respect. My Grandfather Simon Gottlieb Esquire used to take Yonge Street up to the cottage, even after the 400 was built. He didn’t care about the longer drive, he always said better 10 minutes late than 10 days in the hospital. He also said his favorite vegetables were lettuce, turnips and peas as in “let us turn up and pea!”
This however brings the whole story together and is very important to note as what happens next, is tantamount in my life to where I am now!
At the Holland Marsh area of Yonge Street as you see it from the 400, Simon Esquire would always say, without fail, that “this is the most fertile land in all of Canada." We would then make a couple of twists and turns and within 10 minutes be at a roadside market just off the 400 and west of Yonge Street. So far this trip would have taken us about an hour, 15 minutes longer than it takes to get to my cottage using the 400 and another hour to go until we would arrive at the lakeside cabin. I would be in the back seat, Simon driving and my grandmother Esther in the passenger seat. Esther, in all of her glory, didn’t seem to mind too much about the long drive, but she sure did complain most of the way up there. When we got to the roadside market, they would seem to disagree to agree and enjoy picking out the summer's best from the local marsh.
Arriving at the cottage, Simon and I would go out on his boat to catch small mouth bass, sunfish and stripers then bring them back and gut them on newspaper in the basement. Esther had usually made some very simple goodness of the market dailies, she would fry up the fish in butter and we would eat it up.
It turns out that Simon was quite a foodie, he was always bringing over hot bagels fresh out of the oven from Gryfe’s Bakery and my mom would always save the fattiest part of the brisket for him. Quite a belly on this guy, all guts and glory.
Just last week, my son Simon found a secret room at the cottage behind the furnace. He knows he's named after my grandfather and is quite proud of it. In this secret room were leftover remnants of an old man cave that my grandfather had left behind. Mostly boat parts for a non existent boat as well as lots of bits and pieces of fishing poles, never to be used again. Simon has claimed Grandpa Simon’s room for his own and has not shared the location with the other nieces and nephews. My son Simon and I go to the farmer's market about once a week, he's not very good at five-pin bowling and dislike bagels, but loves sushi.