For many years I had promised my college seminary professor, Fr. Occhio, that we would visit him at his parish in Toronto. Finally, in September, we redeemed some Southwest air miles which took us to Buffalo and, hopefully, across the border into Canada. In 1997 we were stopped at the Canadian border and sent back to the US because the California temporary license taped to our new Saturn was not acceptable by the border police. When we drove back across the border, the New York authorities also didn't want to accept our license. For over an hour we were without a country. Finally the New York police told us to leave New York. We couldn't leave fast enough after all the hassles. Now we would attempt to cross the border in a rental car.
This time Canada welcomed us as we crossed the border at Peace Bridge.
Before our crossing, we took a cruise up the Eerie canal at Lockport, NY.
We cruised under the Upside-down R.R. Bridge, were raised and lowed 49 ft. in locks 34 &35, and passed
under 2 lift bridges. It wasn't quite as impressive as the Panama Canal, but it was scenic and much shorter.
We arrived at the Salesian residence in Toronto near St. Benedict Church lateThursday evening just in time to join the community for evening prayers. They joined us in praying for Steve Sidler who was suffering from a heart attack. We couldn't return to Califonia in time to be much help, so we prayed and continued our trip. After prayers, Fr. George, Fr. Frank, and Bro. Bernie greeted us and showed us to our room. Fr. Occhio was busy preparing for a funeral. On Friday morning we joined the community again for morning prayer and Mass. At breakfast, prepared by Bro. Bernie, we had a chance to talk with Fr. Occhio before he and the other Salesiana went back to work. We decided to visit the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, near Lake Huron.
We took a side trip to see Lake Huron and the native Indian Huronia Museum.
This gave us some insight into the Indian culture which the Jesuit missionaries had encountered.
A few miles away we arrived at the church built to honor the Jesuit martyrs,
The Martyrs' Shrine, Le Sanctuaire des Martyrs Canadiens
After touring the church we walked to the nearby shrine of our Lady of Huronia and the restored site of the Jesuit mission.
This was an excellent restoration and featured docents in period costumes.
After a 2-3 hours drive, we arrived back to the Salesians' residence in time for dinner. Bro Bernie prepared another wonderful meal. After dinner the priests in the community drove to nearby churches to hear confessions. On Saturday morning, Fr. Occhio celebrated the morning Mass. This was the highlight of our trip. He had celebrated many Masses for us when we were caretakers at the Carmelite Monastery in Georgetown. After Mass we had time to talk with the community especially with Fr. Frank and Fr. Occhio.
Once again, they were called to other duties, so we took some pictures, said our good-byes, and headed towards downtown Toronto to visit the Royal Ontario Museum.
We had a special tour by a docent who explained the jarring architecture and special features of the museum.
We were especially impressed by the extensive Canadian Indian collections.
From the ROM we drove back toward Niagara Falls.
We toured Niagara on the Lake, "the loveliest town in Canada...
...then drove to Niagara Falls to take a few pictures before the sun set.
The border police in New York let us return to the USA this time without incident.
Our trip to Toronto was over.
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