Day 654: Vanished Spanish

Moving westward along the shore of Lake Huron, Laetitia and her group visited Killarney Provincial Park to hike and canoe. The Group of Seven artists, famously associated with Algonquin Provincial Park, were instrumental in getting land set aside for the park’s origin. Later the group went northward and inland, arriving in Espanola in late afternoon. French voyageurs who visited an Anishinaabeg village in the area were surprised to find fragments of the Spanish language spoken by the native people. They called the area “Espagnole,” which was Anglicized to Espanola later after English settlers came to the area. The explanation for the name was that a white Spanish-speaking woman was captured on a raid far to the south. She later married into the tribe and taught her children to speak Spanish. As a result, some Spanish words and phrases crept into the local vocabulary.

At the bar during happy hour, Laetitia encountered a college student, George, who was backpacking across Canada. He was studying Spanish at a university in the Maritimes and was delighted when he saw Espanola on his map because he thought he would encounter some Spanish-speakers there. He walked around town greeting everyone he met with “Hola,” the Spanish word for “Hello,” but was only greeted with blank stares. The closest thing George could find to anything Spanish in Espanola was the Cuba libreon the bar menu.

While sipping rum and Coca-Cola
George mused ‘bout the town, Espanola
Where no Spanish was found
Though he thought ‘twould abound
When he greeted the townsfolk with “Hola.”