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Visiting Victoria Street, Tweed, Ontario: Century Old Frontages With Ornate Cornices

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Unchanged for a century; evocative of a different past

Along Victoria Street, Tweed, Ontario has many property frontages with prominent, ornate cornices. Many of these are 100 years old.

Various properties executed in brick, and standing tall along Victoria Street in Tweed's Downtown area, these properties thus give Tweed an almost iconic backdrop.

In the United States, such a thoroughfare in a small town would possibly be called 'Main Street', giving rise to a sense of the typical American way of life.

Here in Ontario, the name 'Victoria Street', given to a street with such century old properties, leaves a strong sense of typical life generations back at Ontario towns with a strong British heritage.

The nearby Lester B. Pearson Peace Park (2) is perhaps aptly named in the life of the ambience at Victoria Street, Tweed, because of the past which it evokes. John English's 'Shadow of Heaven' (3) is volume one of his acclaimed biography of Lester Pearson, in which the atmosphere of a bygone era is recalled: a world which was drastically changed by two world wars, rapid urbanization and sizeable immigration to Canada by non-British peoples. Here at Tweed's Victoria Street, unchanged in a century, one perhaps captures a glimpse of an outwardly calm, ordered way of life where assumptions about the place of British traditions were seemingly unchallenged.

Victoria Street —and others like it in typical Ontario small towns — maybe gives rise to the question whether it is overshadowed by the Canada of today, or whether it still offers a consciousness to what life was like two or three generations ago. Maybe it is not a question of either/or: perhaps both aspects contain some truth; I leave the question open.

Located approximately half way between Ottawa and Toronto, Tweed is a good base for exploring Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves and Tweed Memorial Park.

Tweed is located in Ontario's Hastings County.

December 10, 2020

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(1) See also Tweed - Travel Guide, ;

(2) See also:

(3) John English, Shadow of Heaven: The Life of Lester Pearson, Volume One 1897-1948, Random House, 1994.

Also worth seeing

Also at Tweed, the former Jailhouse at 61 Victoria Street, said to be North America's smallest, contains a tourist information centre; along Victoria Street; the Tweed and Area Heritage Centre is at No. 40; fishing opportunities are sought at nearby Stoco Lake.

Belleville (distance: 39.1 kilometres) is the stately, High Victorian Gothic Revival City Hall, built in 1872/73, of which its tower is a major feature of the City's skyline; Glanmore is a National Historic Site of Canada, containing fine, late 19th century furnishings; in the summer months, a gigantic Canadian Maple Leaf flowerbed comprised of begonias has faced Highway 401, close to Quinte Mall.

Kingston (distance: 90.6 kilometres) visitor attractions include: Fort Henry; Bellevue House; the Neoclassical City Hall; the Frontenac County Courthouse; Portsmouth Village; the Flora MacDonald Confederation Basin; and many others in this historic city, highly significant in the history of Canada.


How to get there: Tweed is situated on Highway 37, leading north from Highway 401 at Belleville. Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport (distance from Tweed, Ontario: 89.3 kilometres), at Kingston, Ontario is served by Air Canada, offering scheduled flights to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide flight connections, and by charter airline Brock Air Services. Car rental is available from Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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