In late September I was in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for a little less than twenty-four hours. Sarnia is an easy drive for me, so when the band Cowboy Junkies announced they were going to appear at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, I grabbed a ticket.
Sarnia is on the US-Canada border, just across the St. Clair River and the Blue Water Bridge from Port Huron, Michigan. After breakfast at the Raven Café in Port Huron, I crossed into Canada in the early afternoon and headed to Bayshore Park.
I’d intended to explore the city more, but with the temperatures in the 70s and sun streaming down, it felt more like a summer day. So a stop at the park and a stroll along the waterfront was perfect for a less than 24-hour stay.
You really are right along the St. Clair river and can walk under the Blue Water Bridge that connects the US and Canada.
Apparently, there’s also a tradition of ordering/eating fries under the bridge, too. I’d just eaten breakfast, but the food trucks in the area smelled tempting.
And when I say under the bridge, you really are under the bridge.
The water is really blue, too.
It turned into a long stay at the park, too, as the day really was spectacular.
Eventually, Verizon figured out I’d crossed into Canada and the internet stopped working on my phone. I wasn’t too worried, though, because I was in a fairly small area and had already found my hotel.
Everyone was outside enjoying the day and watching boats of all shapes and sizes, fishing, and a few people were even swimming.
I found some quiet spaces, too.
Obligatory seagull picture.
Rocky The Painted Stone Snake
I loved Rocky The Painted Stone Snake. Sarnia resident Wendy Mardsen and her husband placed thirteen painted stones near the flags in the park. There was a small sign that invited other people to smile and add their own painted rocks.
There are thousands of painted rocks along the waterfront now.
Here’s me and the bridge.
After the sunshine and summer vibes of the day, and a Caesar Salad at plant-based restaurant Greens Organic Café, it was time to tone it down, get moody, and listen to Cowboy Junkies live.
Wikipedia calls Cowboy Junkies and alternative country and folk rock band, but I don’t think that’s quite right. I think of them as an autumn/winter band: moody, quiet, haunting. I listen to them with the lights down low on a cold winter’s night or a chilly autumn night.
They tell ghost stories, down-on-your-luck stories. Blues with a teeny tiny shred of hope in there somewhere because you never know. I’ll just say I’ve listened to them for years and finally got to see them in concert.
The Imperial Theater is in downtown Sarnia. I drove through during a busy Saturday afternoon and was worried about finding parking. Later in the day, though, there was plenty of parking and a spectacular sunset looking west to Port Huron.
The Imperial was lit and ready for business. This intimate theater had several hundred people this night and it felt like the band was in your home doing a private performance.
The stage was sparse with only instruments, chairs, and fresh flowers for singer Margo Timmins.
After this picture, the lights went down, the band walked out, and I stopped taking pictures so I could just absorb and experience. Here are some of the songs that were played:
Sweet Jane (Velvet Underground cover)
Sun Comes Up It’s Tuesday Morning
I Don’t Get It
The show ended and I was back to my hotel in maybe 15 minutes. I went to sleep, got up the next day, and crossed back into the US by 11am. I headed home having spent less than 24-hours in Sarnia.