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Expecting the climate in late spring in Ontario to be mild with occassional rain, Laurie and I have been surprised by the extremes in weather here. We have had everything from sunny cool days to cloudy, hot, humid ones and plenty of rain.
The forecast often calls for isolated and scattered thunderstorms and we have sat in the glass ceilinged sun room and watched the rain beat down as lightning flashed and thunder boomed.
Even more astounding is how quickly the weather changes. We were out walking last week on a mild, sunny day only to watch as clouds suddenly rolled in and we were caught in a real downpour. I expect that it is the proximity of Lake Ontario to Port Credit where we are staying that creates such volatile weather.
Today we awoke to rain pelting down, but by the time breakfast was over, the sun was out and the day was heating up. So we decided to take a thirty minute drive to Humber College to visit the Humber Arboretum there. Humber college is not far from Toronto and has a very large campus.
According to it’s web site, it is home to 20,000 full time students and houses 1000 and was started in 1967. “Humber College offers industry-focused programs with relevant curriculum that provide job-ready graduates with the academic learning and hands-on training they need to impress potential employers.”
The Humber Aboretum includes 250 acres of nature and wildlife and there is no admission to visit. Parking is also free if you go to the Parking Services kiosk and get a pass. Laurie and I spent about an hour walking on paved paths past manicured lawns with beautiful ornamental gardens and natural areas shaded by huge trees. It was intensely green.
There are ponds throughout the garden area and we could hear the deep-throuted croaks of bullfrogs as we walked. We spied one in the water and also saw two tiny Painted Turtles on a rock. There were black squirrels and robins everywhere.
The Arboretum is an enchanting mix of natural areas and cultivated gardens. We saw Lavender, Peonies in a dozen colors, Pentstemmon, 3-foot tall Drum Allium, and huge Rhodedendrons, which seem to do really well and grow to enormous size in Ontario.
It was uncrowded on this particular weekday, perhaps because the Humber College graduation ceremonies begin tomorrow, and we had the place practically to ourselves.
I have been continually surprised by the amount of traffic and congestion around the part of Ontario where we are staying. Even though we are a full 30 minutes from Toronto, the area all around us is very crowded and full of shopping centers and the largest malls I have ever seen.
Drivers are aggressive and obviously in a hurry. They have no patience for confounded foreigners and zoom around us if I hesitate even for a moment. Fortunately, we rarely have any time constraints and so we let them zip by, amused by their intensity, and insulated from it.
After the car ride, Laurie and I both felt renewed by the peace and beauty of the Arboretum. As always, mother nature filled us with gratitude at all her splendor and abundance.