Eager for a getaway, I was very happy when my dear friend O. invited us over, in the city where she’s been living for a while: Pembroke. Five hours from Toronto didn’t seem too long when the landscape we passed by was amazing, especially after we got off the main Highway 401. Nestled on the shores of the highlands of Ottawa River, the little and cozy city of Pembroke was first settled in 1828, due to the developing logging industry, as the first settlers found a rich region of white and red pines.
Evidence of this rich past can be found in the architectural style still visible on the main street, and even though I visited the city during the weekend, and the city looked a bit deserted,
I was amazed at the energy generated by the walls of the buildings who spoke by themselves through some paintings.
Walking through Pembroke’s downtown I started to see more and more murals, and actually I found out later that there are more than 30 large-scale murals depicting the history, settlement and heritage of the Ottawa Valley, painted by both local and national artists. A true outdoor gallery, probably the largest in Canada.
Some images are worth a thousand of words, bringing the time back: they all are an opened history book, reminding us where we came from, and where we headed to, making us realize all our achievements, and accomplishments.
A lesson of history, moreover when it is combined with a lesson of art, it makes a perfect way to capture attention.
Once I saw the first mural I kind of knew there are more, and then I started my walking tour through the Pembroke little downtown. There is a map of all of them which I didn’t know at that time; anyway the majority of the murals can’t be missed as they are so close to each other.
One amazing thing that happened to me while trying to make a photo of the 264 foot long mural Marching Toward the Millennium was when a lady who was driving a truck had stopped in the middle of the street to let me take the photo, as I was on the other side of the street. Kind souls, I was really impressed, as they give priority to the tourists rather than the traffic.
Great place to spend the evening was the Marina: to observe the swallows, or the river, to fish, or simply watch the sunset. Famous for fishing, we took our chances in Ottawa River and tended our rods while admiring the views. We had a moment of joy when we noticed a bold eagle on the other side of the Muskrat River, who perched for more than half an hour on the top of a tree.
We admired the unmistakable gliding of the famous swallows, playing and flying above our heads.
And of course the quiet and the peaceful sunset.
** visited in July 2019
Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful summer, wherever you are! Happy travels, wherever you go!