This is jerk chicken, courtesy of Rainbow Caribbean Cuisine in…
As January starts to head into February — and we head into the coldest and seemingly longest parts of winter — here’s a warming event worth the short drive to Oakville: A Taste of Oakville.
Like other “Winterlicious-” or “Summerlicious-type” food events, Oakville’s version is an opportunity to explore the city and its restaurants at special rates. Prix fixe lunches can be as low as $12 and dinners $20, depending on the restaurant.
Some restaurants offer dishes from their regular menu; others create special menu items.
I don’t think, however, that it’s about the savings: it’s about the exploration.
I spent a few days wandering the city — and I learned a lot about the landscape, the history, and some of the hard-working folks who make the restaurant community what it is.
The experience that I had, the similarities and differences, formed an interesting counterpoint to the considerable time I spend eating and visiting restaurants in Waterloo Region, Guelph and Stratford. I’m sure it will do the same for you too.
But first, some background.
At roughly a population of 190,000, the city of Oakville, in fact, was a bit of a revelation for me when I visited recently. Actually, over the past, say, two decades I had been to parts of Oakville many, many times — its soccer fields, that is, in my capacity as a youth coach. So visiting downtown Oakville and Bronte Village and its harbour area was a pleasant surprise.
Touring the centre core of the downtown and walking around some of the residential neighbourhoods was simply beautiful, especially with the lights of the holiday season then illuminated.
The array of shops and restaurants in the city is impressive.
The Bronte Harbour area, which is southwest Oakville, is equally interesting with its inner and outer harbour, boardwalk and lighthouse. If you go during winter, make sure you return in summer because it must be quite lovely; even in winter, you can imagine the city-at-the-waterfront character it possesses.
It’s quite an historic place as well. Bronte Village was around as a shipping centre for grain, timber and fishing as early as the 1830s, remembering that Canada wouldn’t became “Canada” for another three decades or so. You’re wandering in an area with a rich history.
And just parenthetically, when you have a few moments, Google “stonehooking” sometime; it was an important component of the early construction industry, and Bronte and this part of Lake Ontario were at the heart of it. I’ll tease you and leave you with that bit of homework.
Speaking of this great country in its days as a British colony and Upper and Lower Canada, when you visit Oakville you are in Twelve Mile Creek terrain — that name always reminds me of Pierre Berton and the War of 1812.
But … to the food and restaurants.
As A Taste of Oakville approaches, I will have a few restaurant profiles to share with you to give you some insight into what I found when I explored the downtown.
There are a lot of interesting choices from over two dozen restaurants, so check out the website, and plan a visit to Oakville for some new food and beverage adventures. Perspective is a great thing.
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