Magnetic Hill #2

On our way home from our PEI trip this summer we stopped by Magnetic Hill in Moncton. That night I was surprised to learn via Google that there are “magnetic” hills all over the world, with a few in Southern Ontario.  And so the idea was born to try out as many as we can. Today, we picked the closest one to our house (in Caledon) and set out to find it, should it truly exist at all.

We had very little to go on, and knew we’d possibly have to try out a number of spots along the road.  It turns out it was pretty easy to find. Now let me preface with this: I totally understand why this magnetic hill doesn’t have a theme park and national monument surrounding it like in Moncton. It is not nearly as impressive. However, this is what happened…

When you turn right onto Escarpment Sideroad from Highway 10, the street immediately turns north and appears to slope down, where it bottoms out and slopes every so slightly up again. If you stop your car and put it in neutral where it appears to bottom out, you will roll backwards up the hill. Unlike Moncton, though, you don’t pick up speed and make it to the top. Instead, you stop in the middle of the “hill” and hang there…no foot on brake. Of course, this is the neutral ground, the car is technically level. But if you look out the window, you see yourself as hanging in the middle of a hill. It’s cool. It’s an optical illusion. It qualifies as a magnetic hill.

Of course, in Moncton you pick up speed as you roll “up” the much bigger hill and you get right over the top. That is more impressive.

So if you want to give it a go we sussed out the exact details: Turn right onto Escarpment Sideroad and stop your car at the yellow “20” sign. Put it in neutral, foot off the brake, and roll up the hill till you “hang”.  And if I’m not sitting in a kiosk to collect $5 , then you can mail it to me. 🙂

Next closest hill….Burlington….we’ll keep ya posted….(and remember the camera!)


Back to Work

After a month off, I’m back to work and as one might have figured I wish I were back in PEI sitting on a beach building sand volcanoes and fending off waves. It was a vacation I’ll not soon forget, and only serves to reinforce my desire to relocate to the East Coast.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and Toronto’s where I grew up (sorta) but it’s time for a drastic change I want after a year of drastic changes I didn’t want, and one I’d give almost anything to undo. 😦

My job has changed too; I’m moving over to a less stressful position that will take a little time getting used to but the pressure felt where I am now just isn’t there in the new job. I’m not over stressed (maybe I am?) but nobody can argue that less stress isn’t welcome, grammar notwithstanding.

The air show’s coming up this weekend. I usually take one of the kidlings down to the waterfront mano-a-kiddo on one of the days and we all go on another day. The leadup to this weekend is pretty damn sunny so I hope the weekend follows suit.

I wanna go back.

A foible is a shemozzle

We’ve been home for two days now and are back in the saddle of routine. The worst thing was taking the Family Truckster back. Our 10 year old CRV is (what I call) dying with dignity. It really feels like driving a bag of bones after the nice new van. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a new van and a new house within a year….

I think we did really well travelling with young kids. In fact, I think we could do it forever if money wasn’t an issue. I would do one thing differently, though: Buy those sun-blocking swimsuit shirts. Trying to keep two constantly wet and sandy children properly sunsceened is mission impossible. Not that they got badly burnt, but it was a high nuisance.

Anyways…I gotta go. There’s another vacation needs planning!

(Oh, and if you’re wondering about the title…it comes from the comedic “poem” Bulbous Bouffant that we heard on the satellite radio kids channel…I posed the question “what’s a foible?” and Trevor answered “a foible is a shemozzle”!  Not quite, but it was funny)

The Last Day

Today was a highly uneventful day. We got the heck out of Quebeck (yeah yeah, Quebec’s great…we just have to hoot about it to mask our heinous lack of bilingualism).

We were running on fumes coming out of Montreal, so we filled up as Lily filled up. $1.09/litre. A couple hours later we cruised into Gananoque and found gas at 88.5 cents/litre.  We thought for a second that it was just a promo at the Canadian Tire Gas Bar, but no, every station here was the same.  What a burn. Yet another reason to complain about Quebec!

It was raining here, which is the first daytime rain we have had this entire trip. So we did some laundry at a local place, and then it cleared up. We had dinner on the deck of the Gananoque Inn. It was really nice except for the abundance of bees trying to eat with us.

No one is looking forward to getting home. We all want to head back East to the beach. But something kinda special did happen tonight, just a few moments ago. Timmy has lost his second tooth. He was wiggling it while trying to fall asleep and out it popped with a gush of blood. For those that don’t know, his first tooth fell out while eating a Quesadilla at a friend’s house for lunch in June. At least I was present for this one! 

Home James…..more’s the pity…..

Ahh Drummondville.. Magnetic Hill..

Well we have a poolside hotel room on our way back in Drummondville. Tomorrow we stop in Gananoque for one more night, then we’ll be home. 😦

Today’s drive was uneventful except for the big crash we saw in Quebec just north of Cabano.. Ambulances kept passing us and we eventually caught up to a mess that was difficult to tell what happened. Either way a minivan was pretty much totaled and they had someone on a stretcher whom Timmy still maintains was dead. It sure seemed to take less time to get up to Riviere-du-loup from Edmundston though. Lots of fog heading through there, then it got sunny the rest of the way.

Drummondville is nice, a typical town with an old main drag and a new one. Ordering a steeped tea at Tim Horton’s a la francais sure is difficult though. We went to East Side Mario’s for dinner and the kids had balloon animals made for them. Timmy had a dog and Liam had a giraffe, but Katie and I laughed because they were the same thing except one had a long tail and short neck the the other had a short neck and long tail. Oh where, oh were has my little balloon gone? We figure the cat would have had equal length neck and tail. Anyway they got horsing around with them and Timmy’s chien went boom. Timmy was none too pleased after that so we flagged down the femme and she bent and squeaked him a new one. Then both their heads unravelled and now resemble adult novelties with feet.

As you know we stopped in Magnetic Hill, paid our five bucks and got to roll up a hill backwards. When we got back last night, Katie googled it looking for an explanation (mine wasn’t good enough). We were surprised to discover that there are “magnetic” hills all over the world and Wikipedia has a list of them. Some are even close to the Toronto area and Katie’s idea is that we are going to go and try out as many as we can. That can be a whole other series of blogs.

Liam’s currently asleep, Timmy is still eyeballing us from his bed. He must be thinking, “So this is what they do after I go to bed”.

Lily has started really sucking her thumb and laughing (not at the same time). Liam learned to “draw” faces and things instead of just scribbling. Timmy… hmm… Timmy’s well practiced in video games now. It seems to have been quite a productive trip actually, we should travel more often.

Things I have learned on this trip thus far, by Katie

1. I hate French signage.

2. The highway system in Montreal was designed by the pick-up-sticks people.

3. The GPS is God. The Montreal drivers are satan. They purposely try to squeeze you over into a wrong turn.

4. Quebec has way better rest stops…..but giant blood sucking mosquitos if you stop at them.

5.  Quebec has WAY too much money made evident by the sheer number of road construction projects.

6.  New Brunswick scenery is glorious…but there’s just nowhere for a 2 year old to pee. (in a toilet, anyway)

7. The East Coast has an over-abundance of Dairy Queens and Subways.

8. Pizza Delight is a decent place to eat, although I highly suspect their sauce of being 99% sugar.

9. Red dirt is beautiful. Even all over the Family Truckster.

10. Eggs do not mysteriously fall from the sky.

11. A driver in PEI will stop if he even thinks you might want to cross the street.

12. Brackley Beach is my favourite ocean beach on the planet. (Well, that I’ve been to anyway)

13. I am destined to be behind an 18-wheeler every time I cross the Confederation Bridge.

14. Said bridge is kinda freaky.

15. Charlottetown is tiny and lovely and beautiful and can’t (shouldn’t) be called a city. It has more playgrounds per area that I have ever seen and they all have decent equipment.

16. I shopped in the tiniest Indigo ever.

17. Everything, everywhere (minus Tim Hortons of course) in PEI is fabulous at taking Debit. Hallelujah.

18. Magnetic Hill was cash only. $5. And it has been turned into a theme park and zoo. (Still as baffling as ever, though)

19.  I was meant to live in the ocean air.

20. Wearing a bathing suit 7 weeks after giving birth sucks.

21. Going home sucks!

22. The entire trip was made possible by my boobs. That’s right. Finding a kitchen to make formula in every few hours would have been impossible. Thank you boobs! 😛

Between storms right now

Well we leave tomorrow morning just ahead of Hurricane Bill, and tonight I hear on the news all that’s been going on in Toronto (Woodbridge/Newmarket in particular).
More beach today, the local guitar shop is just today changing their signage over to Long & McQuade which we thought was funny, and I finally had a true lobster dinner tonight at the Charlottetown waterfront. We also stopped at a little playground on the way home.

The beach was windy today, so the waves were up and made it really interesting for Timmy who seemed to really like them crashing up against him at chest level. Liam, not so much. He definitely doesn’t like the taste of salt water so we went to the sand and built a big volcano.

I’m not looking forward to leaving this place and I think it’s only solidified our desire to relocate someday. We were commenting on our walk tonight that even the people stop 50 feet out from the crosswalks/corners if there’s even a hint of someone wanting to use it. The tallest building is 4 storeys, though that likely has more to do with the island’s soil structure than commerce. There’s enough here to make it comfortable (Superstore, Honda dealerships, Sears, Indigo etc) but not so much that I’d call it a metropolis. Real estate prices are still pretty low compared to Toronto but can run into the half millions easily.

Tomorrow’s trip will take us back to Edmundston so I’ll try to get a picture of the fog in the valley. Timmy’s primary focus is the water slide in the hotel pool. And we’ll just have to see if we have time for Magnetic Hill.

Tracks in the sand.

Tracks in the sand.



Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Begin volcano

Begin volcano

Complete volcano

Complete volcano



This doesn't look natural

This doesn't look natural

The kids couldn't keep their eyes off it.
The kids couldn’t keep their eyes off it.