Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Visiting Cambridge Ontario - Gore Mutual and Skating

Sandy slept in really late today. She used to be a morning person but that has changed. I read my trusty Kindle until she woke on her own. Then I discovered what I had forgotten at home (there is always something). The handle part of my electric toothbrush was still sitting on the charger. Luckily, I always carry and old fashioned manual model in my kit.

Heather had suggested we stop by her office with coffee this morning, but she texted to say she was at home until noon since Jasper was being kept out of school due to a cough. We left the hotel about 10:30 and picked up an iced coffee from Tim's for her and various McMuffins at Mickey D's for us. We visited for a while before going back to the room where I sorted photos from our October Agawa Canyon trip. After reviewing almost 400 and deleting the bad ones, I selected around 50 to use in the long overdue blog post.

(Side note: was it ever good to be wearing shoes outside again)

The Gore Mutual families tour was slated to start at 2:00 PM. We drove over to Cambridge, looked after a bank chore and were in the parking lot on time. Kim met us at reception and escorted us through the security doors to the meeting hall located in the headquarters.

Spring-like weather at Gore HQ in Cambridge

Gore Mutual is a small insurance company with a long history. They do not sell policies directly to clients but operate through a broker network. As such, they work on carving out niches where they can provide more value than their competition. In 2014, Gore Mutual was voted #1 insurance provider in Ontario by The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO).

After signing NDA's and getting coffee and cookies, we were treated to a brief history of the company. It was conceived in a pub in 1837 but was put on hold while the Upper Canada Rebellion was resolved. I was sad to note that I know much less about the Rebellions of 1837-1838  than I do about American history, so I have some reading to do.

I did not take any photos of the tour. My understanding was that cameras were frowned upon inside the buildings. The current head offices were built in stages 1935, beginning with the iconic stone structure, which is visible from the street, in 1935. We were taken on a group tour of the main buildings including the board rooms, the original vault and marketing. Then Kim took us to Information Systems, with a detour on the way through Underwriting where she started out. Both areas were bigger than I imagined and we met a number of her co-workers. I found it very interesting, having spent years working with systems before I decided that work in general wasn't for me. Then we returned to the hall and were given a wind-up video before leaving with Kim.

Leaving Gore, we followed Kim just down the street and picked up granddaughters Jolene and Robyn at their school. From there, we stopped by their house and then headed to Galt Arena, the oldest operating arena in the world (opened in 1922). Back in the 70's, my youngest brother Doug spent summers here studying figure skating here from Neil Carpenter. Ron Shaver was a contemporary.

For the first part of the session, Jolene and Robyn helped the toddlers on skates. Then they worked on their own technique. Robyn told me she preferred to work with the little ones rather than skate on her own.

Galt Arena

There is nowhere to get a clear photo of this banner

Watching the grandkids



Skating Moms

After skating - Jolene and Dad

Robyn getting her gear together

The A.E.D. was locked up - just what you need in an emergency

After skating, we headed over to Thirteen Food and Beverage in downtown Galt for a bite to eat. The building was old, the decor was rustic but classy and the service was impeccable. Downtown Galt, a part of Cambridge now, is one of the most interesting spots I know in Canada. The old stone buildings look very solid and stately. Followers of A Handmaid's Tale will recognize the architecture. Someone recounted going home one day and seeing a number of bodies hanging from one of the stone bridges because they were shooting a scene for one of the episodes.

I still hadn't totally blown my diet and stuck to a very nice chicken Caesar salad. Everyone else was able to experience more of the interesting Thirteen menu. Thanks for supper, Mike.

At Thirteen in Galt

Mother and child reunion...

It was 23 F and damp with  a cutting wind as we left the restaurant about 9:20. We bid goodbye to the family and drove back to the hotel in Woodstock, about a half hour away. It was straight to bed when we got there.

Today's Route (62 Equinox miles):

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