Somewhere in an old yearbook, there's a photo of me as a Grade 8 student hauling a piece of wood from The Ottawa River. I wasn't on any kind of prison work detail, nor did I volunteer for the task--my entire class at Pembroke Senior Public School was conscripted into a day-long "cleanup" of the filthy, polluted waters of what would eventually become the site of Pembroke's scenic Marina. Because I stuck with organic materials, I was in comparatively little risk of developing tetanus or dengue fever like some of my more ambitious classmates, who fearlessly waded into waist-high bilge to dislodge rusty machine parts and other man-made perils.
Three decades later, the Pembroke Marina remains a relaxing venue and is arguably the only "go-to" place left downtown now that the theatres have closed and the main street is the domain of banks and pawn shops. There's nightly entertainment over the summer, a playground for the kids, and a nice, long path for bikes and pedestrians that runs alongside the Ottawa River from downtown to Riverside Park (almost as far as Nanny's home).
We didn't have time for a stroll there on our last visit, but with the weather so inviting we didn't pass up the chance to take the boys for a tour, making sure to inspect Nanny's memorial plaque for the entire family (number 1342) and finding a spare bench to take in the view.