Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | August 27, 2010

a break from molly’s cafe: oh canada

oh canada

As I have told so many customers, no I am not from Turkey/Germany/England, but I am from Canada. This month, after four years away, I went back to see my family. I stayed with my sister, who lives about 100 km north of Toronto It was lovely! She lives on a river and has her own sort of beach. She can’t see her neighbours and on her property there is swamp and forest. A few weeks before I got there her husband had woken up to a noise and found a bear trying to get into the bird seed outside the house!

river in the rain

It really was a quintessential Canadian experience to stay there. I was in the tamed wilds amongst the bedrock with trees and rushing water, very Group of Seven (a famous group of Canadian artists). Southern Ontario is very green and it was a pleasure to see it in full summer. This was actually the first time I had visited my sister at this place in the summer, so this time I got to go swimming in the river and even did the rapids run once.

the heron is really there

The very first morning I saw a great blue heron standing on the island across from their dock. He just stood there, perhaps checking out the fish situation for another time. At the bird feeders I saw goldfinches, little blue and grey birds, woodpeckers, and even a blue jay. The grey and black squirrels often came to the spot under the bird feeders in order to get in on the sunflower seeds.

ender on the river

There were two big dogs there too. Buddy is a dalmatian and Ender, who was visiting, is a golden lab. Ender was quite often in the water along with the people. I don’t have dogs, so it was a nice change. There were two cats, but big fat Ed made himself scarce in my sister’s room and Mikey also stayed out of reach, although he emerged once in a while to hiss and spit at Ender.

jacob and frog

I was not there at the time, but a snake came out of the reeds one day, checked out the people, and left. I was sorry to miss it. of course there were frogs and Jacob was quite delighted to find one.

ducks in a row

There were three male ducks who lived nearby and every once in a while a mother duck with her seven half grown babies would come around, as they all knew someone would probably feed them. The mother was fierce, chasing away the males if she thought they were getting too close. It was fun to feed them and to watch them swim. I marvelled at how easily they swam, as I knew how strong the current was.

throw it back

Of course there were little fishies in the river. Sometimes one would come up to get some bread the ducks had missed and occasionally one would jump out of the river, I guess to catch a nice bug. My brother taught his daughter to fish and she caught a couple of fish that would have been big enough to eat, but they threw them back in. I thought it was mean to catch them and throw them back and I know at least one died, which is a waste.

As I went to sleep I could hear the sound of the rushing river and I often heard the lonely sound of a train nearby. I realized that that is a sound I never hear in Istanbul. I hear the call to prayer and ferryboats and sometimes the tramway, but never trains.

so sweet!

One of my great pleasures when I am in Canada is eating food that I can’t get in Turkey. I am sure I gained some weight when I was there! There were crumpets, butter tarts, back bacon (called Canadian bacon in the U.S.), pork sausages, steak sandwiches, fresh blueberries, fresh raspberries, and yummy fresh sweet corn, so sweet you almost didn’t have to cook it. I found a rhubarb raspberry pie one day and the day before I left I found fresh asparagus. Food heaven!


It was very nice to reconnect with the family. My kids flew up for a long weekend, my brother came up with his two kids, and my dad and his wife came up for a couple of days. One brother did not come, but he called and so we caught up a bit on the phone. While en route to picking up and dropping off my kids at the airport, we visited with my aunt and my oldest friend from high school.


I left Canada many years ago. I grew up in Barrie, not far from where my sister lives now. When I was growing up, Barrie was quite small. Now it has a population of about 100,000 and has expanded greatly. It was strange to go through territory that I vaguely remembered, being from there but now not. Although I was grateful for my sister’s haven, I was very glad to come back to Istanbul, where I am clearly foreign and where there is a great dynamism. In Canada, as in the U.S., I look like them but I am not like them anymore. Thus, it is more comfortable I suppose to be in a place where I am definitely not like ‘them’. I am so grateful for the haven that my dear sister provided. She lives in her heaven and I live in mine– we are both so lucky.



  1. Hey Molly!
    I’m a fellow Canadian (from Toronto) and an editor of

    Recently I started thinking of visiting Turkey (late October looks most likely) and asked my readers for recommendations. Somebody suggested Molly’s Cafe and I’m really glad I found your site!

    Definitely be visiting when we land in Istanbul 🙂

    • so glad my cafe is becoming internationally famous 🙂 looking forward to meeting you here.

  2. What a “lovely” vacation–there’s an overused British sort of word. But really it sounds great. Much nicer than my cycling the cold and rain through Austria. And so happy you are using capitals to start sentences again! Welcome back to the fold. And to Istanbul, your home.

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