So here I was! On my way to see "The Lake." My friends and co-workers thought I was nuts. They thought I had finally went off the deep end. They had never even heard of this movie! I didn't care. All I could picture were the
beautiful Ontario country scenes...the long winding Canadian back roads...and The Lake.
My girlfriend and I arrived in Buffalo New York very late. By the time we rented the car and got back to the hotel in Niagra Falls, it was late, and we were beat. We fell into bed, ready for the big day tomorrow.
We woke up and drove across the border to see Niagra Falls. I was still beat from the previous day of traveling. I could barely keep my eyes open, and the mist of Niagra Falls made me even more sleepy. I actualy couldn't give a crap about Niagra Falls. If it wasn't in Martin's Day, I could care less. But I had to appease the girl--you know.
We drove to Toronto for lunch, and I soon perked up at the site of the first red "street car." I recognized them from the movie. I had officially seen my first piece of Martin's Day. It was going to be a great day!
We spent most of the day riding around in street cars, looking for scenes from the first part of Martin's Day. We saw three very cool places from the film. The first was the jail--remember, the jail Steck was in when the film starts? I actually stopped a cop on the street and showed him the shot of the outside of the jail, playing the scene on my portable DVD player. He recognized it immediately, and gave us directions. We were just a few blocks away! We got there, and I was left breathless--that was it! Just like the movie I had seen a hundred times! I must have spent a half hour just taking pictures (you'll see them on the next page!) It was so neat! The jail in the movie had actually been closed down for some time, and there was a new facility right next door. I even tried bribing my way into the old building, begging one of the guards to let me take a look inside, but it was a no go. Oh well. At least I found the jail. I also recognized the surrounding area as the scene you see as Steckert is looking out his cell window, watching his cell mate leave on parol, stepping into a street car, headed for home. Knowing that I was in the exact same place the characters of Martin's Day once stood made my hairs stand up.
We also were able to locate another downtown scene from the movie that day--not as cool as the jail, but a smaller scene--a plaza Dr. Mennen passes while in a street car. Not a huge deal, but still a part of the movie that was neat to see in person.
We tried to find the "school yard" where Martin was first kidnapped from, but to no avail.
By the end of the day, we were beat! We stayed outside of Toronto that night, ready to head to the lake the next day.
We had a lot of driving to do! We jumped on 400 and headed north towards the lake! I got really excited as I started to see many barns that looked almost identical to the big red barn where Martin hides near the beginning of the movie. The problem was, there were thousands and thousands of barns, and even more little back roads that seemed to go on forever. We took drives down a few roads off the highway, but it would've taken months to go down every street in between Toronto and The Lake. We weren't able to find the "exact" barn from the movie, but we saw a few that looked pretty close to the real thing, so we pretended!
We got to our hotel in Parry Sound later that day, exhausted from the drive. We got some food and crashed out. Tomorrow...The Lake!
We were ready to rent the boat we reserved and hit the lake! This was the day I waited 15 years for! Unfortunately, when we woke up and opened the blinds, to our surprise, the weather was MISERABLE! Not a spot of sun in sight, and raining like cats and dogs. No time for a day at the lake. In that instant, my dreams were crushed...what if the whole week was going to be like this? My girlfriend assured me things would be fine, and we called the boat rental facility to postpone the boat for tomorrow.
We spent the next day poking around the area, trying to find some of the little towns that Martin's Day was filmed in--towns featured in scenes like the one where young Martin goes to get the Coke in the drug store, and Steckert thinks he called the cops on him--remember that scene? We had no luck, but did enjoy the scenery. We did find "Orrville," a town not actually shown in the movie, but mentioned by Lt. Lardner. There wasn't much there, but still, an adventure to find.
The weather started looking better, as we stopped by Cleveland's House, to see where Richard Harris and the crew stayed during production of the film. That was neat, just knowing they were there! We also stopped at various points along the lake to check the view out. It was a huge lake! Probably the biggest surprise along the way, was when my girlfriend's eagle-eye spotted a small street sign that read "Hekkla Road," a sign we only spotted for a mili-second on the movie while hitting "still" on the DVD player and zooming in. How she spotted this tiny lane while we were cruising the backroads, I have no idea--we weren't even looking for it, when she called out "HEKKLA!!!" We stopped for awhile and checked out the scene--it was the place where the cops tried to run Martin off the road with a "crash car." We ended up driving down Hekkla Road and it turned out to be one of the most scenic country roads we had ever seen. We even saw a tiny cemetary from the 1800's along the way. It was definitely a highlight! Although a fun day, I was now more than ever, ready to get on that lake!
We woke up to sunshine--beautiful sunshine! I rushed us out the door to the boat docks and we were on our way. A big picnic lunch, drinks, and huge map of Lake Joseph in hand, we um-moored the boat, cruised down the channel, and were finally here--THE LAKE! Lake Joseph was HUGE though! I didn't realize what a massive body of water this was. They had only showed a small portion of the lake in the movie, but this thing was hundreds and hundreds of times bigger--with thousands of curves, coves, islands, and channels. The lake looked beautiful, as navigated our way north, along the east side of the water. We spent hours and hours cruising the lake, monitoring every piece of scenery, in hopes that we'd spot the shore Martin's house once was.
The only disappointment, although just a small one, was seeing how populated the lake's shores were with houses. Like most of America, this once scerene place was now being taken over my developers, and there wasn't many places on the lake you felt "alone." Never the less, we had a great tim anyway. With so many turns, islands, and channels, we spent all day making sure we didn't miss one inch of shore. I HAD to see where Martin lived. If we didn't have a map of the lake, we would've been lost for sure!
Near the top of the lake, we saw a few places that looked like they could've been the spot. The main point of reference in the movie, was the huge rocks near Martins' house, rocks he jumped off into the water with his dog when he was a boy--the same rocks he and and Dr. Mennan met on near the end of the movie. Though we saw a few rocks that looked close to the movie's scene, I wasn't sure we located the exact property. I got a rush seeing a few houses that resembled Martin's house. I jumped in the lake in a few spots that looked like they could be near Martin's house, and enjoyed myself in the water. Knowing that this was the place young Martin swam in--the place where Steckert was in the canoe near the end--it was undescribable. I even played the DVD so I could hear the music of Martin's Day while I was swimming. Yeah, I'm sure that sounds pretty corny, but what can I say--I'm a sentimental guy.
It was almost time to turn in the boat. I sped back to the rental place for one last try. I didn't want to do it, but I whipped out the DVD player and showed the people behind the counter the scene that shows Martin's property from the helicopter. One guy said he definitely recognized the shore, and pointed it out on the map. I jumped back in the boat and sped there as fast as I could. It wasn't far from where we were earlier that day. Although I wasn't 100% sure it actually was the same place as the movie, I was satisfied. My girlfriend reminded me that landscape changes in 15 years, and water rises and lowers, etc. I took one last dive in the water before we headed back to the dock. We turned in the boat, went to dinner, and headed back to the hotel for some rest.
We had to drive back to Buffalo that day--it was a long drive! We stopped by more towns that day, hoping to see the streets where the two Martin's once were, but had no luck. It was still a nice drive back. By the time we arrived in Buffalo, we were pooped! We had some famous "Buffalo"wings that night at the Anchor Bar, and crashed out. Home tomorrow. I felt complete.
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES OF THE TRIP!