Journey to Canada’s ‘banana belt’

Southwestern Ontario, especially along the north shore of Lake Erie, is a unique corner of Canada. Because of its southerly latitude and the climate modifying effects of shallow Lake Erie, it has a climate and vegetation unlike that anywhere else in Canada. In fact, they refer to the tall deciduous forests as “Carolinian” because of their similarity to the Carolinas in the U.S.

It’s often referred to somewhat jokingly as the “banana belt” because of this climate. Of course no bananas grow, but you’ll see trees like cottonwoods and other more southerly species. And the farms grow products like tobacco and tomatoes. At Point Pelee, the southern tip of mainland Canada, my GPS showed a latitude of 41º 54′ 32″ — roughly the latitude of Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona and northern California.

Like many other parts of southern Ontario, away from the areas that have been filled with urban sprawl in recent decades, southwestern Ontario has many old Loyalist communities with beautiful old stone buildings.

Other than one brief previous journey, I’d never really visited this region before, except passing through on the 401 freeway. This was a chance to get onto the back roads and photograph some of the rural settings.

Here are a few shots I took of the area. I selected these to be representative, and they aren’t necessarily the best shots.

Carolinian forest, near Port Rowan, Ontario

Carolinian forest, near Port Rowan, Ontario - © Richard McGuire

Tobacco barns, near Delhi, Ontario

Tobacco barns, near Delhi, Ontario - © Richard McGuire

Prickly pear cactus, Point Pelee, southern Ontario

Prickly pear cactus, Point Pelee, southern Ontario - © Richard McGuire

The end of Canada -- Point Pelee, Ontario

The end of Canada -- Point Pelee, Ontario - © Richard McGuire

Crop rows, Delhi, Ontario

Crop rows, Delhi, Ontario - © Richard McGuire

About Richard McGuire
Richard McGuire is a part-time photographer and photography enthusiast based on Ottawa, Canada.

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