I took a few days off over the weekend, call it an ‘uber-long’ weekend, as our boys had their fall break. They boycotted any trip – stating they wanted to hang out and rejuvenate. Which is fine by me as I see more than my fair share of planes.

So we spent a weekend doing different stuff; we got 12 of our boys mates together and went paintballing in 14 degree, fall sunshine (fantastic), rode bikes, went for walks, got the last of the ‘pre-winter’ stuff done, watched the final episodes of Dexter – Season 3 (I was not disappointed. A friend had said it ends with twists, turns and a bang – had to watch the last 3 in a row – it is that good) and generally relaxed.

The last day was a trip up north to get the skis tuned (refitted where necessary) and to buy a bike.

As we drove down a side road we came across this little hidden gem, the Oro Methodist Church, which was the northern most stop on the underground railway as African-Americans escaped slavery in the south.


The plaques erected around the site tell the story:


I never knew the story of Captain Runchey’s “Company of Coloured Men” until now:

Captain Runchey’s Company of Coloured Men was a militia company of free negroes and indentured negro servants, raised in Upper Canada, which fought for the British during the early part of the Anglo-American War of 1812. In 1813, the company was transformed into the Provincial Corps of Artificers and attached to the Royal Sappers and Miners. It served on the Niagara front during the war, and was disbanded a few months after the war ended.

A different inscription (which I didn’t photograph) said the settlement was key to defending against a US invasion via Georgian Bay. Considering the settlement is many hours (by horseback) from the bay, I am not sure how that worked. Although it might have been a simple defence by ‘being around and running to tell someone’.

Interesting piece of Canadian history.

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