A disquieting view from Chaffey’s Locks

August 11, 2009

This evening we continued a 40-year ritual when I took my bride to The Opinicon for her birthday dinner.  The grounds were as exquisite as ever.  The oaks on this lot must be some of the largest in Ontario, and as well kept as those in Cataraqui Cemetery, another favourite tree-hugging destination.

But it was way too quiet around the Opinicon for August.  It looks like a carefully-tended ghost town.  That’s an oxymoron, I guess.  Most cottages had no cars around them.  Only a few spaces in the parking lot were taken.  The dock was a quarter full.  The dining room echoed.  I’d think ten percent of the spaces were occupied.  Yet the food and service were good.  That’s not the cause.

At the store we asked.  “Where have all of the Americans gone?”  The answer lies in the exchange rate.  At the moment the premium on the U.S. dollar is only 3 cents.  The counter lady told me that when it drops below fifteen cents on the dollar they start cancelling.  But this time some cancellations were because of lost jobs.  There are a lot of desperate people out there who simply can’t come to Canada on vacation this year.

Sheltered by our trees and pensions, we’ve been cut off from the desperation of those around us so that we only notice when they are no longer there.

So another historic eating place is in danger.  I wonder if local diners could help out?  The fillet mignon was great, and prices are more than reasonable.  Go have a meal in Chaffey’s Locks!  We can’t let The Opinicon sink because of a bad year.  Otherwise where would I take Bet for next year’s birthday dinner?

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