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Posts Tagged ‘coach houses’

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sunday I went on two more Jane’s Walks. The first was led by Susan Ratcliffe and, based on research conducted by Evelyn Bird, we explored the barns and coach houses in town. The second walk was led by Jim Profit, S.J., where we meandered amongst the beautiful grounds at Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

On Susan’s walk I learned that there are more 100 barns in Guelph! The Farmer’s Market had been a horse barn and an unused tunnel connects it to City Hall. At one of the residences, I heard of the Swiss herbalist who used to make an annual trip to Cuba to treat Fidel Castro. Some of the barns also contained living quarters for the coachmen who guided the horses and buggies. Guelph was also a thriving centre for the manufacture of coaches. As the horse and buggy are no longer the contemporary means of transportation barns have been re-adapted and have new lives. We saw examples of this in the form of an apartment, a house and a business establishment. Barns are also known as rural cathedrals.

On Jim’s walk we heard about Centre’s past – the first settlers, the Mickles, and the former Jesuit novitiate. And its present – the community shared agriculture program (CSA), community garden plots, Loyola House retreats, hermitages, land regeneration and reforestation. It’s called a place of peace and you do feel calm and tranquil as you walk through these wonderful grounds. We made a short stop at the Stations of the Cosmos, a spiral path with stations, which seeks to integrate the science of evolution with spirituality, a project I’d like to comeback and visit another day. We continued on to a peaceful cedar grove, crossed over Marden Creek, walked along a lovely trail and, after crossing Highway 6, we followed the creek, stopped to hear about the land which has been set aside for conservation, walked through the ruins of a former mill, which nature is reclaiming, visited one of the hermitages and strolled past the house where the Jesuit’s live. It’s not what you’d typically associate with a Jane’s Walk, although, nature does have a way of making you feel like part of the earth’s community.

I very much enjoyed both walks. Thank you Susan and Jim.

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