Anything but Tim Hortons!
That was my battle cry after pulling off the highway to camp at Killbear Provincial Park.
There were signs of hope — a few mom-and-pop restaurants and delis along Route 529. One looked particularly intriguing, a little hole-in-the-wall place called Bread ’n Butter Kitchen. The signs outside promised beer, breakfast and used books. What more could I ask?
But it was closed. Closed for supper, closed for breakfast. Maybe it was closed for lunch too, but I didn’t have time to find out. I pressed on for Britt, a little town on the Georgian Bay.
There’s a restaurant there where my father, brother and I like to stop for breakfast. It’s called St. Amant’s Waterfront Inn & Marina. It’s one of those places that offers what corporate eateries don’t — character. And characters.
If St. Amant’s hasn’t been used for a movie setting it should. Situated in a quaint fishing village, it includes a trailer park, motel, general store and a bar/restaurant overlooking the bay. From your table in the restaurant, you can take it all in, watching the comings and goings the resort crowd and the locals. Naturally, the restaurant has its liars club — a table full of guys shooting the breeze.
On one occasion, when I was taking photos in the restaurant, one of them made a remark about shooting off a Canon indoors.
Next to the register is a sign that reads: “The nice thing about living in a small town is, if you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.”
I stopped at St. Amant’s for breakfast before heading up to Lake Nipissing to hook up with my father and brother. After our stay at Lake Nipissing, we would stop there for breakfast.
From there, we would part company. My father and brother headed home and I set out for Algonquin Provincial Park for a week of canoeing and camping.
I lingered behind at St. Amant’s to use the WiFi and telephone to make ferry reservations. I had decided that, after the Algonquin portion of the trip, I’d return to Ohio by way of Pelee Island.
One of the regulars noticed me sitting near the pay phone, cruising the Internet on my iPad.
“For crying out loud, you’re supposed to be on holiday, not looking at the Internet,” he said.
He had a point. I turned off the iPad and hit the road.
Next: Lake Nipissing, a tribal word for ‘no fish.’